Ebony and Ivory

Mark Sobhani is a Texas-based documentary photographer represented by Zuma Press.
He is traveling to South Africa to document the FIFA World Cup’s impact on local communities. Please visit his Kickstarter site for more information and to support this project.

Today was amazing.

I headed out this morning to the Ivory Park township north of Johannesburg for an event sponsored by the Dreamfields Project, a non-profit organization that partners with others to bring soccer supplies to teams that need it. They focus on townships and rural areas. Supplies usually come in the form of a team kit of numbered jerseys, shorts, socks, cleats and balls, as was the case today.

The beneficiaries were the Ebony Park Primary School. What made it extra cool was the money for the kits was raised by students at the St. Stithian’s College Boys’ Prep School. The boys at the prep school raised money throughout the semester as part of an outreach project with Ebony Park.

In the grown-up world, this event would have all the undertones of the differences in race, wealth, power, etc. The symbolism was all there.

But these kids just wanted to have fun!

While they were waiting for the adults to get organized, the kids from the two schools started playing an impromptu game of rugby. Culturally, in South Africa, rugby is considered the “white man’s sport” while soccer is the “black man’s sport.” Instead of going into the significance of rugby, soccer, black and white and how it’s been in the news here the last few weeks, I’ll just point you to this well-written blog.

A helping hand.

New uniforms. New rock stars.

The students from Ebony Park Prep were going nuts. This was a big deal.

A lot of times you go to these "kids doing good" events and they come trudging in and you get the feeling they're being forced to do whatever the good deed is they're doing. The kids from St. Stithian's were genuinely happy to be there.

The St. Stithian's players were a bit older and larger. They went easy on Ebony Park, winning 1-0.

Rock stars with medals!


Just a quick update on yesterday’s post. Remember how I said I was surprised at the proximity of Alexandra to a more affluent area? This is in Sandton, the upscale area that sits across the freeway from Alexandra township.

The people at right are waiting in line to buy tickets at one of the World Cup ticketing centers. This is in Sandton, the financial/business/retail/tourism hub of Joburg..


One response

  1. Lulu

    The life there is well-captured! I like your shots

    June 8, 2010 at 8:12 pm

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