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Victims of the Game

Photos by Nikki Rixon/Twenty Ten and audio by Andrew Kabuura/Twenty Ten

Location: Nelspruit, South Africa

Local feeling about the Mbombela Stadium.

Associated features: Associated feature: In the Shawdows(Photo Feature)

The Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit was built on ancestral land previously owned by the Mdluli clan. In 2003, Didiza awarded the land to Phineas Mdluli, a family patriarch and chief of the Mdlulis, and the rest of his clan members. Unfortunately, a few of the younger Mdluli trustees have been accused of mismanaging the trust. They donated the 118 hectares of land to the Mbombela municipality for a mere R1 in return for jobs for the beneficiaries of the trust. It is also said that they own a company with two Mbombela municipality officials who were responsible for securing the site for the World Cup stadium.

While Phineas has celebrated his nation hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, he feels heart sore that the ancestral land has been abused, and that so few people from the Mdlulis tribe and surrounding community have benefited.

Forty-one year-old Esther Mbyame has been a teacher at the Mataffin school in Nelspruit for seven years. The stadium developers demolished the original brick-built school in 2007 to build the 46,000-seat, billion-rand Mbombela Stadium.

The school children were relocated to prefabricated buildings a few miles away, which were unventilated, hot, and humid.

“In these prefabricated containers up to six pupils were collapsing each day from the heat. After the mid-morning break we no longer tried to teach because we knew no-one could concentrate.” said Esther.

It took three years of protesting and the...

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