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The Final

By Cynara Vetch

For the last game we projected the match wide and high across the wall of a town hall of Ward 13 in Jozini town, Kwa Zulu Natal.

Phineas Mpanza, the councillor of Ward 13  spoke to the crowd. “Feel it!” he cried, “It is here!” shouted back the crowd. Sthandwa Mnqayi, a Research Manger from AMREF who we were partnering with, explained “That ‘s one of the slogans for the World Cup and for the first time tonight it really is here for them.”

Phineas was also in a celebratory mood “I feel good…that in my lifetime the World Cup is coming here. I was thinking can we do this? We are a small country  but as it continued and continued we saw that we are coming to a global world in South Africa and many people around here are very, very happy.”

We handed out HIV information packages in football bags and soon everyone was clutching one flicking through their booklets and examining their posters. Then we sat down for a One Love video about a couple who are both having extramarital affairs and how one HIV positive individual puts them all at risk.

As we projected the closing ceremony before the game, the crowd built up and filled the space. Shakira did her thing and the vuvuzelas blared out, the sound bouncing against the concrete walls and echoing around the room. Finally it was time for the match, the noise swelled and then died out as the players ran onto the pitch.

Spain seemed in control for much of the game with the Dutch looking nervous at the opening of the match. The audience was evenly split between Dutch and Spanish supporters and both sides were frustrated about the lack of goals. After going into extra time it looked like we had to get ready for a penalty shoot out but after a tense 28th minute Spain managed to score a goal and we had a victor.

Now it’s all over and we’re driving to Johannesburg trying grasp the fact that the journey’s finished, mission accomplished. We’ve had the most incredible month. There has been malaria, countless car issues, some pretty sub standard food and sleep deprivation but there’s been so much more to outweigh that.

It has been 30 days of beautiful landscapes, unexpected moments and inspirational people. We’ve shared the love of football and pride in the African continent that won the right to host such a prestigious tournament. We’ve also worked with health workers and HIV activists in their drive to tackle the spread of the virus. So much work is being done, so much energy and inspiration is being directed towards this issue and we are proud to have supported some of the groups across Eastern and Southern Africa who hope to make Africa free from HIV.



By Cynara Vetch

We drove out of Jozini town in Kwa Zulu Natal through a dusty, dusky pink sunset, our vuvuzelas blaring out the windows.  We were ready and excited for the penultimate game of the World Cup.

While we waited for a crowd to grow we put on some music videos and the place exploded. Every where we’ve gone any music has got people dancing and this was no exception, we had people shaking and swaying in the car spotlights round the screen and into the shadows at the back. It was turned into a bit of a competition and the slickest dance moves were rewarded with Africa Wins t-shirts and vuvuzelas.

It is great to be a part of the World Cup fever here in South Africa. Football is an important sport in the country and played a big role in South Africans day to day lives whilst they dealt with the brutality of apartheid. In his book ‘Africa United’ Steve Bloomfield interviewed John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu, a former team member of Bafana Bafana, the national team.

Football during apartheid was a release, Shoes explained. Born and raised in Soweto at the height of the battles against apartheid, Shoes has been playing football since he was a small boy. ‘We could forget about everything else and just play,’ he said, whether they were kicking a plastic ball around the township’s dusty streets or watching the two giants of South African football, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, play at Soccer City.

‘You can play anywhere, anytime. You don’t need specific equipment. You can get something round to kick about. For me, football is a poor man’s sport. It has given a lot of people from underprivileged societies a lease of life. It was something that would make us happy. Something where black people would be in a position to win, to conquer. Unlike other things.’ He’s old enough to remember ‘the fumes of the tear gas’ during the Soweto uprising in 1976, and was playing professional football in the township for Kaizer Chiefs during the last violent days of apartheid.

Nelson Mandela became the first black president in 1994 and South Africa is now basking in the glow of a successful World Cup. However the legacy of the past still impacts people living in the country today. We partnered with AMREF who run a project tackling Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the province of Kwa Zulu Natal in the North East of the country. Sthandwa Mnqayi  coordinates the programme , she told me “We grew up with a lot of violence within society and within the family. This has led to violence within relationships and we have a big problem with rape.”

For Sthandwa this aggression and violence against women is closely interlinked with the spread of HIV and AIDS “It is still a man’s world here” she noted “men have all the power in relationships they do what they want to do, women aren’t able to negotiate to use condoms.” All this means that the province of Kwa Zulu Natal has one of the highest HIV rates in the country, in the last census 39.9% of women who had been to an antenatal clinic were HIV positive.

For tonight at least the women seemed to be firmly in control, they definitely dominated the dancing,  one large lady in particular. She had a booming laugh and firm ideas on how to use the dance floor, “dance like a snake, move like a snake” she advised us and won a t-shirt effortlessly.

With no satellite hitches and a fun animated crowd it felt like a very special screening, particularly when Germany won. The match satisfied our German  supporters and we got our revenge on the Uruguians who had robbed Ghana of victory.

Only the final to go now and our Africa Goal journey is complete.



By Cynara Vetch

We held our Swaziland screening below the Royal Palace of  King Mswati III, the small country’s polygamous king . We arrived to a football tournament wih a 4000 strong crowd and elaborate tents were up set up to host the Minister of Health and the Minister of Tourism. VCT testing was provided by PSI and NATTICC, a Swazi based HIV organisation .

Hon Benedict Xapa, the Minister of Health had taken up the Africa Goal project as an opportunity to tackle HIV prevalence in his country. Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV in the world. The day had been featured heavily on the country’s television and radio stations and we were excited to see a big spread on Africa Goal in the national broadsheet and a television feature the next day!

We were welcomed into the Kingdom by the Minister and were treated to a delicious banquet. The Ministry of Health and SAfAIDS had provided food for 800 people and volunteers had been cooking over fires in their traditional cast iron pots since 5:00 that morning.

A counsellor who didn’t want to be named explained why HIV has spread so far through the country “It is because of our traditional way of life” she noted “men often have many wives. We also have many traditions. which can put people at risk such as the practice of giving young girls from poor families to be junior wives to rich families.”

Currently the King has 13 wives, his father ended his reign with more than double this number and the custom is unlikely to change any time soon. Rather than criticise the practice HIV activists in Swaziland educate people on “the importance of protecting themselves with a condom every time they have sex and with every partner.”

There is also a big drive to encourage male circumcision, the government has pledged a 100% circumcision rate amongst young men. At the prize giving Mr Xapa spoke to the captains of the football teams and urged them to set up health clubs at their different schools, any groups that were established the minister to pledged to have funded, the idea is that these young men will be leaders for their generation and persuade their friends and class mates to stop the spread of HIV.

Having climbed the roof a building and hung the screen high so the crowd would be able to see the game, we spent a frantic four hours desperately trying to get our satellite reception. Sadly due to a cancellation of our subscription by DSTV and communication problems we weren’t able to get signal. We went the tried and tested route and streamed the match through a grainy television set.

The technical problems were frustrating but we all agreed that the warm welcome from the Swazi people was one of the highlights of our journey. A journey that is quickly coming to a close. Only two more matches to go and these will be held in South Africa, home of the 2010 World Cup.


Maputo Screening

The Waving Flag song, which has become synonymous with the Word Cup is blared out of speakers at the administration offices of the Zimpeto Barrio on the outskirts of Mozambique’s capital Maputo. A crowd of young students just returning from school quickly gathered and circled round a big screen, while we projected a video and later screened the Netherlands vs Uruguay Semi-final.

The HIV/AIDS community in Mozambique is working hard to educate people about the dangers of Multiple Concurrent Partners (MCPs) but there is need for a ‘mainstreaming’ of the issue. There is still a conservative attitude with regards to discussing subjects such as sexual behaviour and some HIV activists have been using the World Cup as a way to draw people to discuss the issue.

David Magaia is a Research Manager with Nweti Trust, Nweti is an organisation which focuses on health and development communication. He says that about 70% of people in Mozambique are involved in MCPs and that this a key driver for the 16.1% HIV prevalence in the country.

Working with the One Love Campaign Nweti Trust is trying to address this trend but it is not a simple task. David says “soccer is one of the events that brings people together different races, colours and creeds. Many people are so much involved in this that we can really spread the information about HIV. I think it is a wonderful thing and it works because we need to have a main streaming of HIV and AIDS in everything that we do.”

Football is avidly followed in Mozambique as it is in most of Southern Africa and the local administration in the Maputo District and Nweti Trust linked up to work with the Africa Goal project which has been screening the World Cup matches through East and Southern Africa and linking with local partners who are working in HIV/AIDS education and advocacy.

Fernando Chilwane the Secretario of the Zimpeto Barrio on the outskirts of Maputo where the screening was held. Fernando was a keen footballer in his youth but now has the physique of a successful politician and only plays for 10-15 minutes every now and then to remember the old buzz. He is concerned about HIV prevalence in the Maputo district, which has one of the highest rates in the country. He believes that events like this are key to support HIV activists because there is a lack of information amongst his constituents “Children don’t learn about health issues in schools and families never talk about it, people are embarrassed to talk about sex, we need more work on this and have more events such as these.”

Young Mozambiqans may be coy talking about sex with their parents but they are stylish and sassy and were more than happy to voice their opinions about MCPs at the screenings discussions.

One boy was inspired to recite some spoken word poetry, he strode out into the centre of the circle, his beanie pulled low and the microphone in his hand. David translated the Portugese “The poem was about the African cries, people crying because of what HIV is doing in Africa. He mentioned the behaviour of many young people he spoke about inter generational sex…. all these things bring about the spread of HIV which is killing so many people. Even though he ended up by bringing the aspect of hope we hold our hands together still we can have a better future.”

The Africa Goal project continues onto Swaziland now but the local government and CBOs in the area will now be looking for similar initiatives which David belives will “boost the efforts that are being done to reduce the spread of HIV and…motivate us further.”



By Cynara Vetch

Today’s  screening was in the capital Maputo and after making up 900 HIV information football bags till 1:00 in the morning, we set off early for a 12 hour drive. We arrived at the administration headquarters of Zimpeto,on the outskirts of the city and then for the first time in 27 days we had satellite problems. As the minutes sped by kick off time grew nearer and the team got more and more tense.

Luckily we were working with David Magaia from Nweti Trust who was calm, professional and unwaveringly optimistic. Whilst we had technical difficulties David ran a One Love video about Multiple Concurrent Partnerships (MCPs) and then led a discussion.  David believes that about 70% of people are in MCPs and  HIV prevalence in Maputo district is one of the highest in the country.

David told me “It’s about passion, I feel I have responsibility because when one has knowledge, he has to pass that knowledge to other people. I’m a reverend and I talk to my church a lot about HIV, I feel I have responsibility to my community to tell people, tell my friends that there is chance of having our community free of HIV”

David is very enthusisatic about the project, he told the camera crew “We can be doing our work but there a new things that come that motivate us more and I think that Africa Goal initiative is in 2010 is one of the best initiatives which is motivating people to understand that the effort to fight HIV is not just for one person but is for all of us.”

The young men and women were confident and enthusiastic about the discussions and keen to explain what their experiences. It was great to see sophisticated, confident young women talking about their lives and relationships. Too often at our screenings the women have been reticent and shy while their male counterparts have dominated the events. David drew them out getting them talk about what they looked for in partner and how they could protect themselves from HIV.

Finally the technical difficulties were sorted and we caught the last 15 minutes of the Netherlands/Uruguay game, which turned out to be to be pretty exciting with Uruguay scoring a second goal in the 89th minute of the game. They didn’t equalise though and the team packed down with a sigh of relief, the Ghana defeat at the hands of the Uruguayians was still branded into us and we weren’t interested in seeing them go any further.



We’re now in Mozambique, which is an incredibly beautiful country. It’s vast though and we’ve spent days driving through stretches of fan palms and trees heavy with bright orange tangerines.

We spent a day and a night in Villanculos. In town we found some children playing football in the side streets, they were singing ‘Waving Flags’ a song by a Somali Canadian, which has become synonymous with the World Cup. Two boys called Alejandro and Emanuel were playing with homemade bolas and were excited to swap them for our footballs. They could hardly believe their luck and and ran off down the sand road just in case we changed our minds.


Seke Screening

By Cynara Vetch

Tonight we had our Zimbabwe match. Football is passionately supported in the country and during difficult times it has remained a constant for Zimbabweans. In Steve Bloomfield’s book ‘Africa United’ he explains the importance of the sport and the national team, The Warriors. Steve writes that.

Zimbabwean football was in a bad state, but it could have been so much worse. Yes, the football association hadn’t bothered to pay a national coach for the last eighteen months, and yes, there was clearly no money and little hope of sponsorship to fund the leagues and cup. But during the worst years… at a time when every other part of Zimbabwean life was falling apart, the country’s footballers had managed to compete with some of Africa’s finest. The Warriors had managed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, and

Dynamos had reached the semi-finals of the African Champions League. Given the circumstances, they were remarkable achievements. Against a backdrop of hunger, violence and uncertainty, these teams had brought a slice of normality and success to a country starved of both.

We held the screening in Seke, a district neighbouring Harare. We set up amongst a collection of roadside shops and I went to speak to our partners.

Dennis Dzikiti and Ndangariro Kanonhawa are Programme Officers with Seke Rural Home Based Care. Many of those they work with are too sick or weak to travel and get medical assistance. I asked why it was that their 3500 home based care clients left taking medication so late that their condition had deteriorated to this stage. Ndangariro explained “the whole process takes a long time from testing to accessing the drugs. This community can only afford to have the process done in government hospitals. There are huge waiting lists and the machines needed can break down for months or can’t be used because of power cuts. Meanwhile those that have been diagnosed as HIV positive are getting sicker.” Dennis left his job working for the Department of Social Welfare for similar reasons he said that he was “tired of having people come to me for help but having no resources to do anything about it. Now with an NGO I feel that I can actually assist people.”

The Government of Canada is responsible for the majority of funding for Africa Goal and Denis Langlois the Canadian Embassy representative made the long drive out from Harare with his three young daughters. He was supportive of the project and urged everyone “to keep up the good work.”

Juliet Mkaronda is the Programmes Manager for SAfAIDS who partners with Seke regularly. She is also supportive of their work but admits that the recent troubles in the country have made life hard for those with HIV. However it is her belief that there is a positive outlook for the future “things are really getting better, we have an AIDS levy, which means that every formally employed person in the country pays the National AIDS Council directly a percentage of their salaries. Now with a newly stable economy this could provide ARVS for the majority of those living with HIV.”

We left a community dancing in celebration to a Netherlands victory over Brazil. As we were packing up people clamoured for condoms and we drove away feeling that in Seke at least Zimbabweans are educated and aware about HIV and ready to protect themselves and their families.


Siavonga, Zambia

In 2006 we visited a little village outside of Siavonga town and had a great game with the children on the community pitch. Four years later we were back to play another match and even managed to find some of our old opponents.

With the light fading we left the village and headed into the town centre for the screening, we were surprised to find the village headman there. Patson Mulopwe inherited the traditional position from his father and said that as a headman people trust him because “a headman is the gatherer of information, a person who is supposed be respected and interact easily with his subjects. I am responsible for assisting the underpriviledged in all aspects of live and bring justice to everyone in the village.”

Patson has joined the areas Local AIDS Taskforce because he believes that the AIDS orphans are one of the serious problems his people face, he told me “I joined the AIDS Task Force is because my personal feeling from what I have seen is how these AIDS orphans suffer when they lose their parents and the lack of support in the community…. people don’t want to share the little they have with others.”

Godfrey Kalaluka is the District AIDS Coordinator (DAC), he links all HIV and AIDS projects in the district he said “there are many orphans here and child headed households. Children here often have to fend for themselves, looking after many brothers and sisters.” pointing to the children clustered around the screen he said that most of them would have no adults looking out for them.

The kids were very excited about the game and also the t-shirts and vuvuzelas that they won. We sat amongst them at the front and it was a lot of fun sharing their anticipation and eruptions of applause to any fancy footwork. Brazil dazzled in their yellow and as far as you could look there were people perched on platforms, leaning through windows all intent on the game. But as the night wore on it got colder and the children sat on the damp ground, huddled together though they were, didn’t have enough clothes to stay warm. They tucked their arms in their t-shirts and wrapped them round their knees but there was no one to make sure they didn’t catch cold.

When we packed up we were treated to an impromptu dance performance by five of the children. They incorporated their vuvulezas and sang us a song, waving furiously as we drove away. We left touched that they had enjoyed the evening but wondering where they would be spending the rest of the night.


Bwafano, Zambia

By Cynara Vetch

After our very urban game in Lusaka we headed to the outskirts of the city to Bwafano Community School, which educates children ranging from 4-16 years old. The school had set up a football tournament. As the first team set off in their canary yellow football-shirts, a group of peer educators sat with the other squads and discussed HIV issues. One big theme that came up was male circumcision and how it can help reduce HIV, the young men wanted to know why traditional circumcision was being advised against in favour of a medical operations. Paul Kasoukouona, a HIV activist explained that “The traditional method is all centred around the same knife that serves many young initiates and this leads to problems of infection and the spread of HIV and AIDS”. Health workers recommend having the foreskin removed by a doctor in a sanitised environment. We were impressed with the high level of knowledge amongst the young men and their interest HIV prevention. Everywhere we go however it seems that the youth are being targeted as group that needs more education and assistance. I asked Paul why it was that this knowledge is not transferring into behaviour change and why HIV is still being spread amongst young men and women. An issue that assists the spread of the virus amongst young Zambians, is a law that makes it illegal for anyone under 16 to have an HIV test without their parent’s consent. Paul is pushing for this law to be abolished he says that “parents often refuse to allow their children to go for a test, they think that if their sons or daughters are found positive it looks like the parents themselves are promiscuous and will be judged by their community.”

The older generations also speak of un-licensed underage drinking in illegal bars that cater to children. Here you find girls and boys no older than 16 drunk by 8am in the morning. Anyone’s money is welcome in these establishments and the accessible alcohol means that young people get careless and have unsafe sex.

For tonight at least the football teams were much more interested in ‘good, clean fun’ and the Germany vs England match provided more than enough entertainment. The Africa Goal is split between England and German supporters, so some felt robbed by England’s disallowed goal, while those with bright German flags painted across their cheeks left Bwafano in a glow of pride for Deutscheland.


Zambia’s homophobia

By Cynara Vetch

We held tonight’s screening in George, Lusaka’s oldest residential district. It was the centre for freedom fighters of the Zambian independence movement and remains very political today. Paul Kasoukouona is an HIV activist working for the Southern African Treatment and Access Movement he’s been working on HIV/AIDS issues for 10 years he told me “ this is one area where the government can’t even enter everyone is for the opposition. There are elections next year and if there is vote rigging again and the government gets in there will be serious problems, people will be rioting in the streets.”

George has one of the highest HIV rates in Zambia and also the highest crime rate in the country. A lot of this has to deal with high unemployment, Paul explained “ If you lose your job today you don’t know when you will get another. People have big families that expand because of the high number of AIDS orphans that must be supported. When it is 8 people to a room parents encourage their children to go out and do commercial sex work in the evenings. This means more money for the family and space so that they can actually fit into their accommodation.”

Paul was contacted by SAfAIDS to lead a discussion with the community leaders about HIV  related issues. One topic which was raised was the issue of homosexuality and lesbians. Initially the leaders denied that there were any gay or lesbian individuals in their communities. Same sex relationships are considered a foreign issue and unZambian this view is exacerbated by the fact that the head of the National AIDS council is a bishop and strongly against homosexuality on religious grounds. The Vice President’s son is homosexual and estranged from his family. The Vice President is pushing for a law to be enacted that encourages people to inform on known homosexuals and lesbians so that can be sent to prison.

Paul works with 2000 gays and lesbians in Lusaka, he is the only straight man in Zambia who speaks out about homosexuality and says that “All my activist work has been difficult but this project in particular has cost me a lot, there are some jobs that will refuse to hire me because I have worked on this issue.” He is lobbying on behalf of gays and lesbians because he believes that “we must use every scientifically proven prevention to stem the spread of the virus” and he has never thought that “you can use Christianity or morality to deal with public health issues.”

Initially tackling the concerns of same sex relationships and HIV was “like hitting a rock and nothing was moving” but now underground groups of lesbians and homosexuals have been set up whose members include doctors, teachers and lawyers and the movement is growing. In this meeting at least there was a consensus that there are same sex partnerships exist in George and HIV and AIDS must be tackled within these relationships as well. However it will take many more such discussions to create an open environment in Zambia which accepts lesbians and gays and enables them to access to treatment and prevention for the virus.


A big school for a little village

By Cynara Vetch

Mombe is a little village on a big trucker route through Zambia. We arrived at collection of thatched huts only to be ushered up the hill to a gleaming new secondary school. It is still in the process of being constructed and everywhere we looked there were Zambian builders with hard hats and Chinese foreman barking out instructions. The Zambian government has been funded by the Chinese to build 8 schools in this Eastern province.

The builders opened wrought iron gates and showed us into a vast school hall where we set up the screening, high on the ceiling I counted 24 electric fans. There’s no electricity in the area but the board hopes that a big secondary school will put Kacholola on the map and persuade the government to stretch the grid to the village. The school will provide employment for 20 teachers and has boarding facilities, which will allow pupils across the province to access secondary education.

Temboka Linda, the headteacher explained why he was supportive of the Chinese involvement in his school “With the previous policy the money was given to the community. Some of it was lost and there were a lot of strings attached with procurement, it took a long time to build the schools. With Chinese assistance these problems have been solved and the whole process is much faster”.

The education HIV activities were run by the District AIDS coordinator in the area. She used our Africa Wins: Every Time You Prevent HIV t-shirts to broadcast the message that it was every individual’ responsibility to help prevent the spread of the virus and eliminate it on the continent. Our audience ranged from granparents sitting on exam style desks at the back to little toddlers cross legged at the front. Sadly the game was not the most thrilling, Portugal and Brazil being too closely matched but every close encounter was met with wild enthusiasm and they were a great crowd.

We spent the night in an abandoned guesthouse, which was slightly reminiscent of ‘The Shining’ but we were very well looked after and treated to a campfire and the best roast goat we’ve ever tasted.



By Cynara Vetch

Tonight’s screening was held in a bus stop in Chipata town. It was a chaotic place and seemed to be filled with drunk young guys who had just left the town’s bars. The District AIDS Coordinator (DAC) had organised security and we were slightly nervous noting the AK 47s that guards’ were carrying but they turned out to be really helpful and were delighted with the HIV packages we gave them. It’s Zambia’s national Voluntary Testing and Counselling for HIV day on the 30th and the DAC was using the event to mobilise people to get tested. It was a bitterly cold night and the audience though substantial for the ‘One Love’ HIV educational videos, shrank as the match wore on.  They really enjoyed the film Rose’s story, which takes a recently orphaned young girl and uses her character to address the stigma that people can often face once they have contracted the virus. Elimon Ndhlovu, was one of the hard core viewers who stayed till the end. He had been to visiting his sick mother and dropped in to see what the screening was all about. Elimon is a HIV and AIDS psyco-social counsellor which the Zambian Ministry of Health. He is setting up his own NGO because he believes “The biggest problem is the way people think. If you bring them development projects they expect to always be helped from the outside. I want to help people run their own projects and link them to the people and resources they need like the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community Development.” He works in Chadiza 75 kms outside of Chipata in the remotest part of the district, there traditional practices such as puberty cermonies force young girls and boys to miss large sections of there schooling, Elimon is working to change this and find sustainable livelihoods for the parents.


A Night Game

By Cynara Vetch

Tonight we drove out from Salima in the dark through miles of long yellow grass and villages. There was no electricity off the main road, the kiosks were lit up by little oil lamps and fires glowed outside the huts.

We followed our partners from the Society for Women and AIDS in Malawi (SWAM) and the Salima AIDS Support Organisation (SASO). They had piled huge speakers into the back of their pick up and pumped out music, encouraging people to come and join the screening with their megaphone.

When we swept onto the village pitch crowds of children followed us and danced in the beam of the headlights, kicking up swirls of dust around them. However as soon as the screen was up and the projector on they crowded round in rapt attention. Solomon from SWAM and Chiyembekezo of SASO led the HIV activities playing a One Love video about infidelity in relationships and then quizzed the crowd about what they’d learnt.

As the activities carried on more and more people arrived. Bikes were stacked in long rows behind the audience and some children set up a mandazi stand at the back.

Hassan Juda had cycled an hour and a half to get to the screening after he heard SWAM and SASO’s announcements. He’s a welder working in South Africa but left due to the xenophobic violence last year. He told me “I have come to learn something and watch the game. People are dying like cockroaches here. I love to beach around, I have girlfriends in Nigeria, Malawi and South Africa but I always protect myself.” Hassan’s father died of AIDS when he was 12 and he had to leave school to look after his 9 brothers and sisters he said “I was young but to them I was a man, I went and I searched for work.” He’s now 26 and his mother has married again leaving him free to support himself and follow football.

There was bright moon, which lit up the field and we settled down to a fantastic match with lots of chances for both Ghana and Germany. Germany scored in the first five minutes of the second and then things got very exciting as Ghana desperately tried to get one more goal and get back on an even footing.

We were sad that Ghana didn’t manage a goal but they will go through to the next round with Germany, so we have at least one African team still in the tournament. SASO announced this as we were packing up and the crowd and a excited and noisy crowd scattered into the night.


More from Malawi

By Cynara Vetch

Unfortunately our car problems have continued. On our first night in the country Dom went out to get money, he had to swerve to avoid someone on the road and rolled into a big ditch. The car is now slightly the worse for wear. As a result we have stayed in Nkata Bay and had our screening here whilst waiting for car repairs.

We found our first ladies’ team, the Manuchi women’s football team. Their coach is Mizard Ngwira a talented player on the boys team he’s also a group leader with the HIV support group run by The Mitsunge AIDS and Community Development Support Organisation (MACODESO). The female players range from 15 to 30 years and are wild women, tearing round the pitch their floral skirts torn and dusty. They are struggling with equipment and we swapped a girly flowery homemade ball that they had made with their first real football.

The girls team has been set up so that they can compete in a women’s competition organised on behalf on the Malawian president, Bingu wa Mutharika. Mutharika has had a big impact on Malawi’s HIV problem. Alick who coordinates MACODESCO told me  “Five years ago it was very difficult for people with HIV. Now we have democracy in Malawi, it has become an open thing to have the virus. There is a syllabus for HIV and AIDS in Social Studies, which is learnt at school. Now on TV there is coverage about condoms, how to use them, it has been accepted and families can talk about it. ” Alick told me that at the height of the epidemic 24% of the population was infected now this has been reduced to 14%.

Sadly the crowd was completely out of control and when we gave out HIV packages and footballs they mobbed Mouse and Tammy pulling them to the ground and trampling them. They are fine but as a result when there’s a big crowd we’re now going to deliver packages to our partners and they can distribute them.


Entering Malawi

Today we drove to Malawi from Tanzania over the escarpment and across the rolling hills of Tukuyu. The soil up there is rich and lush and there are mango and banana trees everywhere. A lady we met told us that you throw an avocado seed in the ground and within four years you’ll have a respectable tree.

In Mzuzu town we met a bunch of young guys selling bracelets, when they found out what Africa Goal was about they were excited about the free condoms we have. One of the men came from South Africa, he’d left the townships in Joburg he told us “life is very hard there, now I have moved to Malawi things are better. I caught the HIV virus four years ago but I take ARVs and I am alright, all my friends know about my disease.” He took a packet of condoms saying “Condoms are expensive here so people don’t use them, they’re good to have.”

We have no screening tonight but are linking up with George the District Aids Coordinator tomorrow.



By Cynara Vetch

We had a beautiful trip today, driving along the bottom of a baobab valley. Above us the hills were smoky grey with deciduous trees and we wound through miles and miles of vast baobab trees.

The legend in Africa, which is also told in Australia and Madagascar where they are found, describes the baobab as a greedy tree at the beginning of creation. It demanded from the creator special flowers and leaves and took all the space away from the other plants and trees. Finally God grew exasperated and turned the baobab upside down, the twisted gnarly roots coming out from the top and that’s how you find it today.

Our venues keep getting better and better and Iringa has topped them all. We had the screening in the town’s football stadium, a red brick complex set against boulder strewn hills.

When we arrived IDYDC (Iringa Development of Youth Disabled and Children) activities were in full swing. They had acrobats from the Alpha Dancing Group. Tom Mortimer from Grass Roots Soccer explained how the artists had helped their Zinduka Kupita Soka project which means wake up through sport. “At the beginning we had a lot of resistance from the parents who couldn’t understand why their children should be doing football and after school activities, they wanted them back at home collecting firewood and other chores. Alpha did some interactive drama pieces, involving the parents and explaining how it would work”, now the project is inudated with children and the parents are much more supportive.  The dancing group wowed the crowd with crazy flips and hoop tricks and then rounded it up with a comedy routine involving juggling straw hats, which produced giggles from the children.

The whole day was held together by MC Steve Magombeka, a brilliant guy who works with IDYDC. Steve grew up in Dar Es Salaam and sadly lost both his parents, after that he fell off the rails and got into lots of trouble. He’s now sorted it all out and has moved to Iringa and works in a shop. He’s incredibly popular with the kids and volunteers in his spare time with the organisation. Check out his blog which, is all about media and music in the area

We gave Steve a Africa Wins t-shirt for helping us and he gave it to one of the nurses in the HIV counselling and testing tent. I went and spoke to the nurses and Tammy was able to photograph a man being tested. They’d had a successful day getting 50 people tested, Sarah told me that  “Iringa has problems with HIV because it’s a stop off for people travelling through to Zambia” Sarah is a retired midwife and started working with AMREF because she was interested in helping out pregnant women with HIV.

After the testing and the match we packed up in record time.  Just in time we headed to Scooters bar to watch the England game.


Mekese Match

By Cynara Vetch

We arrived in Mekese with a football match in full swing, Tomato FC(!) the local club were playing from a Secondary School in the district and the fans were very excited. Around the palm fringed football pitch kids had climbed trees and put up banners all to support their teams.

Again we linked with Family Health International but this time their partners were Grass Roots Soccer and Faraja Trust who are integrating health and soccer education into the curriculum and working with young people on health issues. I met Emanuel Shila who is the Master Coach for Grass Root’s project in the area, he trains up coaches in the area to teach football techniques and health education messages. He was excited to be at the event, he told me “This is great, using the World Cup to help people. You see a lot of people here to watch the match through Africa Goal it’s very poa (excellent)”

A booming brass band with shiny but ancient trombones and trumpets played the background music to a dance off. The kids went wild dancing in their traditional kuduku style. The winners won Africa Wins t-shirts and vuvuzelas. The Canadian High Commissioner for Tanzania had made it all the way down from Dar Es Salaam and gave a great speech telling us that

“Many of you here are the future generation of Tanzania and you can help prevent the spread of HIV by talking about the risks and protecting yourselves. Today we see the strength of the African Nation in hosting the World Cup. Tomorrow, lets continue to see that strength as we all work together to stop the spread of HIV.”

Initially when the match started we had a very laid back audience. Nigeria’s sudden goal right at the offset failed to rustle up much excitement but as the pitch darkened and the game unravelled the noise and tempo grew till the 2000 strong crowd created a buzzy atmosphere.

Now we’re heading South towards the Malawi border.


Coca Cola beat us to it!

By Cynara Vetch

Today was the day we got pipped to the post by Coca Cola.

We crossed the border to Tanzania this morning and got to Arusha. We’re staying in ‘The Everest’ a crazy little place, which is a cross between a Chinese restaurant and a hotel. Mr Zan is our host he can’t speak English or Kiswahili but he loves Tanzanian Kilimanjaro beer and is very excited to have 13 guests in this sleepy town.

When we headed to the town market place for the evening game Brazil vs North Korea but when we arrived Coca Cola had stolen our thunder. They’d parked a huge truck in the centre of the site and had erected a screen twice the size of ours!

Luckily they were keen to collaborate, Family Health International (FHI) had been speaking to them and we decided that we would set up our entertainment mid way between the two matches. FHI links with local NGOs from target areas, in Arusha they work with Africa Wings who have set up a network of musicians, radio presenters and students. This group all work together for free to talk to the young guys and girls in the area, educating them and encouraging to prevent and treat HIV and other health issues.

 It was a great atmosphere and FHI really know how to work a crowd. Sam Pepo and Space Unit, well known rappers in the area, performed to a 800 strong crowd. They tackled issues of love, sex and living as a young person in the town. Afterwards they talked to the crowd about preventing HIV and discussed the problems the virus was causing about the community. Ally Babu and Adam Njarita from Africa Wings then set up a quiz where rows of raised hands were waving desperately trying to win our vuvuzelas and t-shirts.

We left an excited crowd shaking it to Shakira and proudly wearing their new prizes.


Cameroon and the Condom Orchestra

By Cynara Vetch

Last night we were treated to some music by the Condom Orchestra. We were back in Nairobi for our last Kenya match. We linked up with AMREF, the African Medical Research Foundation who run a project for disadvantaged and street living children in Dagoretti slum.

AMREF set up an entertainment bonanza of music, singing, comedy and quizzes. The children put on some incredible skits, the “Condom Orchestra” was made up of a conductor and 8 musicians playing blown up condoms. I chatted to the conductor Wyclef Juma, he’s passionate about drama and explained that “in my culture it was very funny for people to even see someone open a condom and hold one. Sometimes young people use their teeth or a knife to open them and they break. This theatre teaches them how to use them.”

One of our primary sponsors, the Candian government, was represented by Richard Le Bars the acting High Comissioner  from Canada who came to check out the action. It was great to have him there and we heard how Canada is supporting the link between sport and development.

Wyclef has been visiting the AMREF project since 2001, he was brought up by his aunt who couldn’t  support him. Wycleff told me that “Football helps other children. When I was with my friends in the street we played, for me football is very good for people to encourage them, to help them, they can forget about their troubles.” Manchester United is his team but he’s cheering on Germany in the World Cup.

We’ve found the last four matches that Kenyans talk about the international favourites as those they are supporting but when it comes to screenings they back the African teams all the way. Any goal for Africa is met with twice the applause and excitement and Cameroon was supported with wild enthusiasm last night.

AMREF’s Country Director for Kenya, Ms Mette Kjaer, why AMREF was keen to link up with our screening.

“Football is an extremely strong way to disseminate information to people. It’s so strong because in such communities…football is what makes them no different from anyone else.” She said

She was confident that the screening would have an impact, explaining that

“Events like this don’t change behaviour on the spot, but it keeps HIV on the agenda, they’ll keep talking about it. When they talk about this afternoon, they won’t only talk about the football match, they’ll talk about the drama sketch, the songs. In that way they’ll share, they’ll discuss and challenge each other. This is how people’s behaviour can be changed.” she told me.

That was our last screening in Kenya, tomorrow we cross the border and begin our screenings in Tanzania


Sotik Match

By Cynara Vetch

Today’s match was held in the emerald green tea country of Sotik.

The screening began smoothly with a talk by the Sotik Tea Company’s Clinical Officer about the HIV virus. However when the General Manager of the Estate stepped up to make a speech, a huge gust of wind swept the 3.5 metre high screen shade off its feet, metal poles and canvas sheeting went flying across the school field.

Finally the team  captured it, got it resurrected and all was well until Argentina scored. As the ball hit the back of the net the rain arrived and the situation got complicated. The water left the audience huddling under canvas and porches and then the screen went blank.

The electrical storm had caused the interference and we needed to wait for it to move on before we’d have a chance for any further transmission. I spent the time talking to people from the area. Doreen Kituku is the Chair Person of the HIV and AIDS and and Child Welfare Committee she and her team go out onto the estate as the farm workers are cutting and weighing their tea. Whilst the men and women harvest the leaves, the peer educators talk to them about the virus and ways that they can protect themselves. The committee was set up when the farm managers and the two farm dispensaries learnt of an alarming number of sick days amongst their pickers. Investigation found that it was all too often because of HIV and HIV related diseases.

A group of young guys had explained earlier that they’d only come for the football and weren’t interested in the HIV education. I asked Doreen about this, she told me “When we are having our meetings these young men don’t come. The women are more accommodating, the men feel like they don’t want to waste their time”. The screening was an opportunity to address these young guys and the crowd was filled with them, around 500 people attended the match and the majority were men.

Phillip Sambu is the Assistant Chief of Monire, a sub location in Sotik District. He is a keen football fan and would have been watching the game from the comfort of his home but he has personal reasons for supporting the AIDS projects on the farm. A few years ago his stepbrother and his stepbrother’s wife died from the disease leaving behind eight children. Phillip found homes for all the children and took in three himself, he now struggles to meet their school fees along with those of his offspring. He was happy about the screening saying

“In your coming the men can see that it is not us the committee alone that speak out about HIV. They will see that their visitors are also involved in the fight and that it is a serious issue, which spreads all the way down to places like Zimbabwe.”

The storm moved on, the screening resumed and the audience watched with rapt attention. Nigeria were the undoubted favourites although Argentina’s goal got a polite applause.

We packed up slipping and sliding in the thick mud and then headed back for hot cups of tea.

Tomorrow we head to Lake Baringo.


Chapatis and Mandazis

In Western Kenya we ate chapatis and mandazis from Mbita town. Chapatis are flat, thick savoury pancakes fried on flat hot plates and Mandazis are triangle shaped doughnuts dipped in boiling oil. Both were hot, fresh and delicious.


The Opening Game

By Cynara Vetch

 The World Cup opened for us in Mbita in Western Kenya. With a view of the vast Lake Victoria in the background we set up our screen under a blazing sun. The whole event was staged in a football pitch in town.

 We partnered with a group of different NGOs who work to tackle HIV/AIDS issues in the district. Mr Okomo the District Aids and STI Coordinator of Mbita helped draw all the organisations together, he was excited by how everything came together.

According to Mr Okomo HIV and AIDs education is so important in the area because “We have one of the highest prevalence rates in the country.” The lake is a blessing and a curse, Mr Okomo explained that, “The community is blessed by being rich in fish but this has also caused problems. Its about poverty, the fisherman are relatively rich in this poor area and they take advantage of others that don’t have this wealth. They demand sex for fish.” He also told us that the culture in the region, means that  “we have stayed in denial for a long time and this has allowed the disease to spread.” But things are getting better, thanks to education efforts in the town, the HIV prevalence has dropped from 41% of the population to 26%.

We linked up with the NGOs for a big quiz on HIV and AIDS issues. Dom represented us, giving out Africa Goal prizes and wowing the crowds with his vuvuzela (crazy South African trumpet) skills. We were very impressed with everyone’s knowledge of HIV issues.  The school children were particularly well informed, they came out with some biological facts that we would have struggled to use.

The kids were just as excited about the opening ceremony and the adverts as the game itself. I spoke to seven year old boy, with the fantastic name of Tony Blair. He had recited some poetry for us earlier and was a big football fan. Although I think he was slightly confused about the World Cup, when asked who he wanted to win he was adamant about his choice “Chelsea should get the cup” he told me.

Everyone erupted with South Africa’s goal and there was a real buzz in the air with the idea of the team winning the first game of the tournament. There was a much more subdued reaction to Mexico’s score, but all in all by the end of the match the 200 strong crowd dispersed into the night satisfied, with their Africa Goal evening. We broke down the equipment in the dark amidst a swarm of lake flies and headed for a huge dinner.

Next we travel to Sotik, deep in Kenya’s tea country, so an early start tomorrow.


Africagoal exhibits in International Football Village, South Africa

Since June 10th 2010 Africagoal has been exhibiting photos and homemade footballs in the International Football Village, Johannesburg. Over a thousand people visit the village daily many of whom visit the arts and development zone called ‘Ne Nako Africa’ (It’s time for Africa) where the exhibition stands.

The Africagoal exhibition tells of its 2006 journey and its dreams for 2010 through photos, an information panel and handmade footballs that were traded for factory stitched balls along the 2006 route. Africagoal is one of several development programs exhibited that use football to affect social change. Within the Ne Nako Africa arts and development zone it is shown how Football is being used as a central tool in health promotion, peace building, Children’s rights and education, antidiscrimination, social integration and the environment.

Several of the exhibition tents that have a strong focus on this vision are the German Development Cooperation, Youth Development through Sport Association, Department of Sport and Recreation – South Africa and the Southern African Development Community.

The International Football Village and exhibition will end on the 11th of July, as will the 2010 Africagoal project. What will not end is peoples love of football and hopefully with it the knowledge for people to improve their lives and the lives of others.



As one of the members of the Africagoal team I arrived in Harare on the 19th of May to meet with the two key project coordinators ; Mouse Leakey and Maciej Sudra, to help facilitate the final stages of the project.

Having been a huge supporter of the Africagoal project after having been a part of the 2006 team my persistent encouragement for yet another Africagoal tour over the last two years and the work done by all team members is soon to bare its fruits.

From the onset of my arrival from Australia I have been met with the kind hospitality of my two friends and the Zimbabwean locals. Having finally arrived here on the ground where the project will actually take place I have also been reminded of all the challenges that such a project faces. As one of the few members of the team that has not grown up in Africa it is easy to forget just how difficult it can be to organise even the simplest of