Black kid’s football dream

 Soweto, on the outskirts of Johannesburg, is the largest black gathering area in South Africa and the largest slum with at least 1.3 million inhabitants. Of the only three rugby teams in the area, only the Soweto Rugby School team trains children to play rugby and organizes them to take cultural lessons.
  The children had no classes on this day, but they still came to the school and sat on the floor of the classroom, surrounded by brick walls. The standing teacher’s name is Tanya Shabarala. In addition to teaching history and English, she is also one of the team’s six coaches. Tan Ya also wore a South African football “Springbok” jersey in his gray sweater. This team defeated England in the final on November 2 last year and won the Rugby World Cup.
  ”I have always connected their favorite football with other teaching content.” Tan Ya said. Facts have proved that children like this way very much. Every time Tan Ya asks questions, there are countless small hands raised to answer questions. More than 40 children around the age of 13 in the classroom looked at Tan Ya with pious eyes and listened carefully to her talk about “football and democracy.” “Are there any opportunities for black people to participate in rugby? There are 12 white people out of the 15 players in the national team, but only 3 black people. Is this the biggest democracy we can do?” she asked the children. . Tan Ya said she hopes to use the opportunity of class to make children aware of the lack of racial diversity in South African rugby.
| The team has only one skin color for a long time |

  In South Africa, it’s rare to see black kids participate in a football training, and Tanya’s summary at the end of the course can help us understand why this is unusual: “You have to remember that there is no sport Only white people are allowed to participate. Even if our (black) group does not fully understand that this is a sport that everyone can participate in, we can still grab football and go to the sports ground to sweat sweat. The previous generations are too prejudiced. ”
  Soweto is not a land suitable for rugby. Like other slums, football is more popular here. “For a long time, only white people in South Africa could play rugby, and the only ball game for black people was football. We grew up under this concept. In order to change people’s thinking, we founded this rugby school.” Chris Li Tau explained. As a semi-professional player, he opened this Soweto rugby school in 2016. In the past three years, 250 children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 have entered the school, including more than 50 girls. Chris’s dream is that one day, some of these 250 students will wear the “Springbok Team” to go abroad for the country.

Soweto Rugby School students in training

Soweto Rugby School students in training

South African children who love rugby

  For a long time, the South African rugby national team has only one skin color. After the official end of apartheid in South Africa, in 1995, under the strong promotion of Nelson Mandela, the “Springbok” took the slogan “National team is the country” and participated in the Rugby World Cup and won the championship. However, among the players who won the trophy together, there was only one black player-Chester Williams (who was the main player of the South African Football League). In 2019, Chester Williams died, and a successor replaced his symbolic status. He is the first black captain ushered by the national team in 2018-Shia Krish. He led the “Springbok team” all the way through, and with an excellent record in the World Cup final stage to meet with England.
| “Our family only watch football” |

  Shia Krishna, like other Soweto children, grew up in slums. In the eyes of the children, Clichy is a hero: “This is a great captain, he will definitely lead the springbok team to victory. I also want to be such a powerful team leader!” 12-year-old Bo Itumero said brightly in his eyes. Next to him was 17-year-old Nata Bisen. She further affirmed: “Clichy inspired countless young people to participate in rugby, especially children.” Three years ago, when the school was founded, during a school visit, Encouraged by Chris Litau, the little girl joined the team. She is the only person in the family who plays rugby. She also admits that at her house, “we only watch football games.”
  Shia Krishna was always hungry for training when she was a child, and now the children of Soweto are still the same. This morning, when asked “Have you had breakfast before coming to school?”, only one of the children in Soweto Rugby School answered “Yes.” “I saved money for breakfast.” The child continued. After the training, Chris sent sandwiches to other students and watched them gobble around. Previously, these children were either barefoot, or wearing canvas shoes, or wearing holed socks to train on the court. Of course, in South Africa, there are also white children who play football barefoot. “Indeed, this is true,” Chris Litau admitted, “but our children only do this because they don’t have the money to buy shoes.”