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Overcoming Disability (DM)

Davison Mudzingwa/TwentyTen

Associated feature: The Silver Lining (Text feature)

Location: Sebokeng, South Africa


Community integrates mentally challenged through soccer.

CUE: Having a mentally ill child is widely regarded in some African Communities as a curse from the Gods. Sebokeng community near Johannesburg is no exception. However, a local initiative seeks to empower the mentally challenged children through soccer tournaments. Davison Mudzingwa spent a day at one such tournament and finds that social issues are tackled on the pitch.

FX: SOCCER MATCH (Fade In, Play Under) 5 sec

LINK 1: It’s a five aside match underway and two sets of teams trying hard to play on this grass patched ground with makeshift goal posts. It’s not the fancy-skilled brand of soccer one would witness elsewhere. But the lack of skill and fitness does not seem to dampen the mood of supporters who are rallying behind their respective sides.

FX: SUPPORTERS (Fade In, Play, Fade Under) 5 sec

LINK 2: This game of soccer is the first of its kind in this Sebokeng community in the Vaal. Children with mental disabilities from two schools are playing for a trophy.

It’s to highlight the importance of world and make them feel wanted because in most cases they are not taken care of.

Link 3: Peter Zamisa is a head librarian at the Sebokeng Community Library. He says the match was organised to instil the culture of reading in children with mental challenges.

CLIP 2: PETER—8 sec
We have slow learners…we have books for slow learners.

LINK 4: But it’s not so easy for these children to access libraries. They are few and it takes a lot of effort and resources to reach the nearest facility.

CLIP 3: PETER—14 sec
You find that some kids use double transport, which is expensive for the parents

LINK 5: Good education is what these pupils aspire for, but it’s more than that. 18-year-old Semonyomonyo Mofokeng is the top goal scorer of the tournament with two goals. The bustling striker has a long-term wish of playing for South African league giants Kaizer Chiefs. In the short term, though, he wants the support shown during the match translated to the community at large, especially for people like him.

It’s only God who knows, but I wish people would treat me normally, he says.

LINK 5 Mofokeng, also known to his peers as Mbesuma after a Zambian striker who made waves in the South Africa league, has changed since soccer was introduced at his school.

VOICE/OVER: I’m no longer going to the taverns as before or smoke, this is because I spend most of my time in school and soccer . Our coach teaches us to be good people in the community.

LINK 6: Mofokeng refers to Nikenah Nsabele, who joined the school in February 2010. His aim, he says, is to change attitudes of this community towards mentally challenged people through soccer.

FX: SOCCER ANIMATION—00:05” (Play, Fade Under)

CLIP 6: NSABELE—20 sec
I do tell them that do not feel like you are Out of the community…because that child is our child.

LINK 7: His view is shared by soccer legend Simon ‘Satch’ Lehoko, known for tough tackles during his heyday at the now defunct Vaal Professionals and Kaizer Chiefs.

CLIP 7: LEHOKO—25 sec
They say exercise is better than medicine…they also feel wanted.

FX: SUPPORTERS SINGING—5 sec (Play, Fade Under)

LINK 8: As the game ends players walk heroically with their medals dangling, supporter singing even more. Their wish, it seems, is for this kind of treatment to carry on and for the community to embrace them without prejudice.

For the Twenty Ten

Project—I’m Davison Mudzingwa in Sebokeng community, South Africa.


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