in-the-shadow-of-a-stadium: When the first World Cup soccer game kicked off at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, R4.5 billion was already 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 lived in the shadow of the new Green Point Stadium prior to 2010’s FIFA Soccer World Cup. During the building of the stadium they were 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 offered to help relocate them, they were 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 up-market areas.
Today this group of homeless people are a community uprooted. They’ve spread out onto the sidewalks and nooks and crannies of the area, and call these spaces home.
The World Cup has come and gone, and their fate remains unchanged.