Cape Town keeps it clean

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We are supposed to feel lucky to be hosting this world cup, to be spending millions on stadiums that will stand empty and unloved once the cup flow is over. Few South Africans can afford tickets to the games and the swarms of tourists and the money they’ll pump into our communities, have simply not materialised.
What has happened is that our city centre has been “cleaned”. For weeks now the poor, homeless, the street hustling whores and begging street kids have been rounded up and chased out. They have been threatened with jail if they show their faces in the city while the games are on.

I am greatly relieved that I’ll be going to Kenya soon, to spend most of the World Cup in Nairobi in search of the soul of Ubabi, while watching Africa lose and asking what, what do we do, as thinking Africans to imagine ourselves out of this? I’ve been given a sexy little camera to document my pilgrimage so I decide to use it.

I find Coco and Chloe dodging the security guards in the back streets. They say that they are staying in a shelter in Woodstock. Others are in District Six, most are scared of arrest and staying away but Coco and Chloe, transgendered riffraff who have been selling their asses since they ran away from home, have come to see what’s up.

Home – another name for pain- for them was once Elsies. A ghetto flatland where employment outside of crime is rare, fathers are absent, doing jail time for the poverty which stinks up the air, and child rape, which is what stepfathers do. Chloe’s story is not unusual in its broad themes and outline but the details make my ears bleed.

Since the city went back into minority control, designed to protect white privilege and fear, there have been moves to make everything illegal, from Graffiti to street sports to bin picking, there are new bylaws in circulation to bland the city and keep the riffraff on its knees. Under the Fifa cordon policies like this find perfect expression.

They tell us we have to stay away because we are a bad influence on tourists, says Chloe. Coco, ever hard-faced and angry says: Yes, but who taught me how to drink piss?

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5 Responses to Cape Town keeps it clean

  1. its a capitalistic world deal with it!

  2. FIFA made a killing and the irony is what initially was Sepp Blatter’s way of saying “Thanks for the vote” that made him chair in the 1998 Fifa elections, has come at our expense
    So far all I know is
    * Not much ROI for SA in terms of broadcasting rights
    * Some debt on stadia incurred, not sure when profitable
    * Tight marketing and trade restrictions… See more
    So we’re drinking Budweiser instead of Castle at the stadiums.

    • interesting, just like China did during the Olympics! A lot of the small people are not getting the benefits they were promised.

      ma maT
  3. Great article. The question is, what kind of legacy will the World Cup leave behind? Will our streets be permanently littered with police who keep out the “undesirables”? Will our country and continent continue to be “raped” by opportunistic countries and organizations (FIFA)? The future remains to be seen.

    Juandre Damonze
  4. We hear you loud and clear! In the Great “Right” North, the shame remains the same …. downtown Toronto in lockdown for the G20. Homeless (there are 10,000 children alone living on the streets in this city) have been swept out of sight, out of mind into overcrowded shelters, the media has set up camp in full view of a fake “Lake Muskoka” (the real LM is where big G8ers get to carry on next week), created to the tune of $100,000 (almost R1 million) just so they can revel in the ostentaciousness of it all. Zuma rolled in on the red carpet today to catch his piece of the action. The real action will of course be in the street, where thousands will gather. On protest websites it’s not only about where you march, it’s about how to deal with teargas and taser attacks. The downtown core looks like a ghostown …. rich condodwellers have fled to anywhere else but home, police are harassing anyone that “looks like a protestor” (aka youth, South Asians, Arabs, First Nations, LGBTQ and aging hippies of all creeds and colours) spy agency has it’s cameras zoomed on anything that might be considered a public gathering, and the bill for the official “sandwich tasters” who vet the delegates food inside the conference center is reported to be about $1 million. And the legacy of this exercise in fear, loathing and greed? An invoice for $1 billion … and not one new (or empty) stadium to show for it!!!!!

    Andrea Meeson