Football fever has not been confined to South Africa’s urban areas.
Rural areas are also getting in on the act thanks to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform having set up 45 Village Viewing Areas (VVAs) in all nine provinces across the country, providing an opportunity for at least 576 000 rural residents to see World Cup games, and providing 540 temporary jobs in these areas.
Spokesperson Sandile Nene said the month-long initiative is part of the department’s Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) which aims to create vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural areas through the provision of employment opportunities.
“These job opportunities are linked to the CRDP’s skills development and transfer programme, which enables community members to market themselves after the projects’ implementation,” said Nene.
He said the Independent Development Trust (IDT) was responsible for setting up the VVAs, acquiring the necessary equipment such as a projectors, screens, speakers, amplifiers and satellite dishes for each site.
These were to become the property of the communities after the World Cup, to be used for educational and recreational purposes.
Additionally, he said ex-Bafana Bafana star defender Mbulelo ‘OJ’ Mabizela, and current Kaizer Chiefs captain Jimmy Tau would conduct two day coaching clinics before some of the match days at some of the villages.
Dysselsdorp (in the Western Cape near Outdshoorn) Local Organising Committee chairperson Samuel October said the community was “very excited” about the World Cup, “especially since they can watch the matches at the local school hall”.
October said the hall was “a full house” on Friday for the opening ceremony and Bafana Bafana vs Mexico match, with the community blowing their vuvuzelas and wearing yellow and green in support for the national side.
“The young children are so excited that they’re even playing soccer in the rain and come during the day for the earlier games after their school holiday programme.”
He said the community also appreciated the fact that the audio visual equipment would remain with them.
Johan Colyn a Lindley resident from Thabo Mafutseyane district municipality, who is responsible for running an independent initiative, the Free State Independent Film Festival, said the VVA’s were “a fantastic idea” and “a good idea”.
Many people would not have had the opportunity to have a communal World Cup viewing experience otherwise, he said.
His only concern, he said, was whether the donated equipment would be put to good use to develop skills among the communities.
“There must be logical follow ups,” he said.