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Dreams shattered (FM)

Felix Masi/Twenty Ten

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

South African vendors and entrepreneurs welcomed the announcement that the FIFA World Cup would be hosted by their home country. Many saw it as a chance to capitalise on the influx of tourists to the region, and an opportunity to improve their standard of living.

One woman, Linda Nomathemba, started to dream that she might one day be able to afford a house for herself and her five children. She set up a kiosk in 2006 on the grounds of the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, and within months had established a bustling trade selling home-cooked food to passers by.

Linda had set her sights on 2010 when the stadium would be full of hungry soccer fans. She watched as the South African Football Association (SAFA) house was built and saw the stadium take shape over the years. With no canteen in the stadium, she had lunchtime queues at her kiosk, but it was nothing compared to the queues she had imagined during football matches.

With only four months until kick off, Linda and her fellow vendors were served eviction papers and given notice to vacate the area. With no time to build another business, Linda’s dreams of lifting her family out of poverty have been dashed.

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My name is Linda Nomathemba Nxusane. I stay in Orange Farm, which is 45 minutes from here to Joburg. I work in Soccer City.

When they first announced that World Cup is coming to South Africa, I told myself, “Wow! This is my chance, one way or the other, I MUST grab this chance”. So when I got there to Soccer City, I said to myself, “This is my bread which no one will take out of my hands! Because I got children, I got five children they go to school and now I don’t know what to do”.

I started in 2006 when they were building SAFA (South African Football Association) house, and then they changed to the other side and began to build the stadium which is Soccer City. I have two girls who are helping me and if it is busy (right now it’s not busy it was busy before there was no Canteen inside) because (but now) there is a canteen inside, the business is becoming low you can make maybe R800 or R1000 a day but that is not my all of it some of it is the stock of the day.

It’s 2010 now, the stadium is ready! But the thing is disappointed because now that the stadium is ready…they are telling us, “There is no place for us to trade there”!

You know! What I was expecting, I thought maybe, you see how big the stadium is? I thought maybe they will build small kiosks all around the stadium even though they will build those big shops, we will not mind. I thought they would build for us small shops, I know many of us would have occupied those shops.

We understand people who will be selling inside there, is the FIFA family which is McDonalds, KFC, all those ‘Big Guys’, they are the ones who will be selling inside.

If I had money, or if they had given us three months notice, I was going to prepare myself that if they chase me from that place maybe I will look for another place or maybe I can open a Spar (mini supermarket) or another place, but now with this short notice I don’t know what to do because I don’t even have the cash.

All I can say that, I am very disappointed. Really. I just hope and pray that maybe something will come out of this but the things the way they look, I don’t think anything will come out of this because it seems like we were not on the plans, but we didn’t know that we were not on the plan, that’s all I can say.

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