News from South Africa

Apartheid Museum - Johannesburg

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about my expectations on information media in South Africa.

I deeply believe that Soccer World Cup is an important opportunity to focus our attention on a Country, a Continent that is like a puzzle of chances, and problems.

Fortunately, there are many people sharing this vision. That’s why it’s very difficult to collect all the news regarding social life published by hundreds of different media all over the world.

In this ‘mess’, I selected two news from different media: newspaper and internet. One is good, one is bad …

The bad news.

The Guardian reported that FIFA has been accused of banning the distribution of condoms in the World Cup stadiums. As The Guardian says “South Africa has the world’s largest number of HIV carriers, with an estimated 5.7 million people infected – about one in every five adults. There are around 1,400 new HIV infections every day and nearly 1,000 Aids deaths.”

So why cant’ Aids groups draw advantage from this worldwide interest in South Africa for a prevention campaign?

The good news

It comes from Italian association called UISP (Italian Sport Union), and it is reported by different Italian online sources: ANSA,, etc.

Created by UISP and dedicated to Nelson Mandela, the aim is to award those people strongly involved against all kinds of racism. Even though in South Africa  apartheid doesn’t exist anymore, unfortunately racism is still alive. And not only in South Africa.

The ceremony will be significantly held at Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.

Shoot4Change by Nicoletta Di Tanno

Together with this award, the Italian UISP will present the Antiracism World Cup, a soccer championship that will be hosted at Casalecchio di Reno (7-11 July).

Photographers by Shoot4Change will be the ‘voices’ of this tournement!


South Africa and 2010 Soccer World Cup

From tomorrow many of us will spend our time watching Soccer World Cup 2010, that will be held in South Africa.

This is the most important soccer competition, and it represents a unique opportunity of investments and economic incoming, as well as an important showcase for the whole country.

I hope that all the people that are working there (journalists, tv operators, photographers, ecc.) and even the supporters coming from all over the world will be able to tell us not only about some soccer matches.

I hope they will be the witnesses of social life, focusing their (and our!) attention on a Country, a Continent that need a deep awareness from all of us.

G. Perottino/Insidefoto - all rights reserved

Following the good example given by varous NGO as Doctors without Borders and AMREF, we don’t have to miss the opportunity to talk about projects, life, needs of South African people.

As for the Rugby Championship in 1995, this is also an opportunity to fight against apartheid, that unfortunately is still alive.

If you’d like to tell something about your experiences in South Africa, don’t hesitate to use this blog!

Enjoy your championship and let’s have an alternate view of  2010 World Cup!


Monday, June 14, 2010
2:00pm – 6:30pm
Waithaka Divisional Headquarters


AMREF is partnering Africa Goal to screen World Cup matches live across Africa, starting in Kenya on June 11 and ending in South Africa on July 11.

The aim of the project is two-pronged: to bring the World Cup, on a large screen, to communities in remote or poor areas that do not have access to such an opportunity to view the matches, and to use the opportunity presented by the ready audience to deliver messages on HIV and AIDS. Africa Goal is partnering with local health organisations, and AMREF is one of those they would like to work with in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.

AMREF’s role is to organise the venues – such as a football field, or market ground – mobilise people to come and watch the match, and engage the audience in discussions and messages on HIV for about two hours before the screening in the form of talk, drama, music, question-and-answer sessions or other forms of presentation, or a combination of various forms. The Africa Goal team will provide the equipment, while AMREF organises the venue, mobilises the audience and delivers the health messages.

The first screening under this partnership will be in Dagoretti, and the match of the day shall be that between Japan and Cameroon. Children from the AMREF Dagoretti Child in Need Project will perform plays, poems and skits with a public viewing of Mapenzi Tamu and there after, a question and answer question for the audience based on the day’s performances.

My little Mandela day

The author of this post is Daniela Bertoglio, an Italian traveller, translator, and tour leader.  In 1997, she visited South Africa where she had the chance to meet Nelson Mandela … I asked her to tell about this moving experience.

Enjoy your reading, and thanks to Daniela!

Nelson Mandel - all rights reserved

“My recollection of Mandela dates back to a special day of many years ago.

It was 1997, and I was in South Africa with a group of Viaggi nel Mondo, an Italian tour operator. We were 13 people, and many of us were activists of Amnesty International.  On September 11th we arrived, after a long journey, to East London: we intended to go, the following day, to the Addo Elephant Park, even if we already had seen a lot of elephants. The walls of East London were covered by manifestos about the 20th anniversary of the death (or rather the assassination) of Steve Bantu Biko, and so we came to know that the following day there would be a ceremony for the unveiling of a Biko’s statue. My group immediately separated, among those who wanted to follow the original program and those who preferred to remain and take part to the ceremony. We had two vans, so it was not a problem. But the following morning we came to know that half South African government, included Mandela, would be in East London, so we all decided to remain. When we arrived in the main square, there was a stream of people, almost all black. I realized that we wouldn’t have the opportunity to see anything, so I took my courage into my hand, I pretended to be a journalist, and I approached the organizers’ office. I told them a lie: I said we were a group of Italians arrived in East London only for the ceremony, and the girl I spoke to, incredibly, believed me. “Unfortunately the first rows are occupied, but if you contend yourself with the fourth row…”. I couldn’t believe: there was a stand for the government authorities and a dozen rows of chairs for the local authorities and she was offering me 13 seats! Obviously I immediately accepted, thanked her and I went to call my friends. Close to our seats there was a little stand where musicians, dancers, church choirs performed.

We spent the first hours listening music and becoming familiar with the people sitting around us. There were all blacks, and very smartly-dressed. Unnecessary to tell that we were dressed like tramp. At a certain point a white man climbed on the stand and started to sing “Biko”: it was Peter Gabriel. This song, together with others, had been the soundtrack of our journey, we all knew it by heart, unlike the South Africans around us (during the apartheid the song had been banished), so we have been choristers of Peter Gabriel, who saw us, incited us to sing with him and later he recorded us with his video recorder (yes, I had been on Peter Gabriel’s holiday film!). After him many other musicians alternated on the stand, until the moment when the all square remained silent.

Mandela had arrived, and started to speak. I must confess that I don’t remember his speech, maybe I didn’t listened to him. There was such electricity in the air, we all hung upon his lips, with a great respect. He spoke in English, Xhosa, and other South Africans languages, but even if he had spoke in Chinese everybody would have listened to him. I remember his tone, so quiet, peaceful, the tone of a person who can control the multitude in front of him with the power of the word, without shouting. At the end of the speech we all sang the South African anthem. The words “Nkosi sikelele Africa” still now moved me like few other (surely more than “Fratelli d’Italia”!). Then the crowd started to dance, and we with them.

South Africa: Mandela at 90

Photogragh by Andrew Zuckermann

This week “Time” dedicates its cover to Nelson Mandela, one of most important leader of our ages, to celebrate his 90th birthday in a significant way.

On July 18th, the day of his 90th birthday, Nelson Mandela gave this message to the world: “There are many people in South Africa who are rich and who can share those riches with those not so fortunate who have not been able to conquer poverty. Poverty has gripped our people. If you are poor, you are not likely to live long.”

Why is this man so important not only for South Africa? In order to better understand, just take a step backward to Mandela’s life and South Africa recent history.

Mandela was born in South Africa on July 18, 1918. He graduated in law.

He joined the African National Congress at the age of 26 and was engaged in resistance against the ruling National Party’s apartheid policies after 1948. From 1964 to 1982, he was incarcerated at Robben Island Prison, off Cape Town; thereafter, he was at Pollsmoor Prison, nearby on the mainland until 1990.

During his years in prison, Nelson Mandela’s reputation grew steadily. He was widely accepted as the most significant black leader in South Africa and became a potent symbol of resistance as the anti-apartheid movement gathered strength. He consistently refused to compromise his political position to obtain his freedom.

In 1986 strong foreign sanctions were tightened to South Africa, which lost an estimated $ 4 billion over two years.

In 1990 the president of South Africa K.W de Klerk released Nelson Mandela, and in 1993 Mandela and DeClerk are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1994 was held the first democratic election in South Africa, and Mandela was elected President with de Klerk as deputy. Mandela’s presidency was characterised by the successful negotiation of a new constitution; a start on the massive task of restructuring the civil service and attempts to redirect national priorities to address the results of apartheid; and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up primarily to investigate the wrongs of the past.

Mandela retired from politcs in 1999, but he is continuing his work through his foundation. He is involved in a global HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, and in many scholarship programs throughout South Africa.

In spite of the big problems that still affect South Africa, such as poverty and AIDS, this Country, with its democratic transformation, represents a hope for all the African countries.

South Africa will have another great chance to demonstrate reconciliation through sports, as the world’s greatest sporting showpiece, the Fifa World Cup, will come to Africa for the first time in 2010.

If you’d like to read more:,8599,1821467,00.html