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In the shadow (SR)

Samantha Reinders/Twenty Ten

Title: In the shadow of Green Point Stadium

When the first soccer game kicks off at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, R4.5 billion will already have been spent on its construction. Environmental concerns, noise pollution worries and transportation arguments have enmeshed the stadium in controversy since before the first brick was laid however. For many the argument is not the money spent but what the money could instead buy. They argue that the cost is not in Rands but in lives. Many of Cape Town’s townships are without sewage systems, hospitals are horribly under funded and the poor are homeless. R4.5 billion can, roughly, build 60 000 homes, which could house up to 300 000 previously homeless people.

This essay is about a small group of homeless people who live in the shadow of the new Green Point Stadium. Several times in the past few months they have been uprooted from the trees or corners they called home and moved to other areas around the stadium to make way for construction. Although the city has offered to help relocate them, they are not willing to leave the area that they are able to make a minute living from – picking from suburban trash bins and guarding cars in the surrounding upmarket areas. Questions of where they will move to when the construction makes it impossible for them to stay in the area are met with upturned hands and uncertainty…

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