Intern Blogpost 3
A charity which has the unbelievable power to unite all three areas of Hout Bay on the football field and nurture their children through empowerment and mentorship, thereby uplifting the whole community. Off the pitch they provide their youth the guidance required to help them along their journey through education and towards gainful employment.
Walking into the HBUFC office I was immediately greeted with an inauguration ping pong match and an introduction to the HBUFC philosophy.
In Hout Bay, the community is divided in three by the transparent barriers of apartheid. A thick body of massive whole felled trees divides one community from the other leaving no room for cultures to associate amicably.
The soccer field is the only place where you will see all races come together around the pitch and show their support for each other- something very special which challenges the deepest of deep misunderstanding between the history of cultures and races everywhere.
From the first day, I realised how much of a powerful influence I had on the children and the community at large. After growing up in an environment where I tactically learnt how to play football since the age of 4, I coached the children the same way I was taught- watching them smile as they realised they were finally being taught how to play football the right way, rather than on the streets, and in masses of bodies chasing after one ball made out of plastic bags and string, suffering horrendous infections, cuts, and burns. They also became obsessed with the way I looked asking how I was born with such smooth hair. They then asked me if players like MESSI and RONALDO were real, genuinely believing they were from a different planet and told me they don’t ever die.
When I first looked at these boys, I saw them by their bodies, their eyes, their skin, their ambience. Soon, these all became second nature as I began to see them through their awareness and consciousness viewing the world just like myself, but through different eyes. I wanted them to understand that no one has anymore importance or purpose than anyone else- a man made concept passed down through generations of their parents and grandparents own insecurities and viewpoints. I told them these players and celebrities come from the same place as us, they have mothers just like us, and they have problems just like us, but in a world fabricated with luxuries, riches, and fame, it is hard to visualise them having those problems when you live in a 5 ft by 10ft shack with no running water or electricity.
I came out here initially to coach and help out in the charity wherever I felt useful. After coaching and mentoring these children, I have truly fallen in love with them. They come to me every day to show off something special, or tell me how many goals they’ve scored or a funny joke they’ve learnt. They will accompany me when going to get heavy equipment and help me set up, just to get a precious few minutes of socialisation from someone who will actually listen, talk, and joke with them like they are just as important. I have become someone these children can confide in because a lot of them go home to lonely households where they are shut down and become emotionally unavailable.
After the children united on the football pitch, I was able to listen to their beliefs and educate them- trying to make them aware that they are not simply a product of their skin colour or gender. Primitively, we are here to survive and reproduce, but we must challenge these basic human instincts while exploring and understanding ourselves and most importantly, evolving as a human race. While they may not have found their purpose yet, they can grow and move forward with a newfound curiosity for personal growth and limitless ambitions.
I received from this experience just as much as I gave to the children. I learnt how happy and kind u can be in a world with nothing. And I also learnt how to inspire and teach children to use their own awareness to form their own beliefs and question everything instead of just believing what they are told. I gave everyone here my heart and they returned love.
Intern Blogpost 2
My name is Matteo, I’m 19 years old and studying sports journalism & -marketing in Germany. This summer I received the opportunity to do an internship at a football club. I knew immediately that I wanted to take this offer. There was just one problem... The Club is in South Africa so it would be my first time living alone, away from home, and in a country I had never been to before. Fast forward three months and it has been one of my best decision’s ever to travel abroad and stay with HBUFC.
When I came here on the 25th of September, Germany was beginning to see its first signs of winter and the weather was getting worse. But here, the weather gradually became nicer each day, so at first it felt like I was here on holiday. I lived with a German family which made the stay very easy for me. But as I look back, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been a problem to stay somewhere else, because everybody welcomed me with open arms – regardless of whether they were coaches, players or admin in the office. That was one of the first things I became aware of at HBUFC. Everybody is open minded and bringing people from different backgrounds together is not just a saying – it’s their real philosophy and lifestyle. Everybody accepted me right from the beginning so I immediately felt like a part of the team. In this atmosphere it’s easy to work and be motivated. My work includes: getting funds, organizing events and helping the football club wherever I can.
Another beautiful aspect of my internship with HBUFC is my work on the field as a coach for the youth players. I was a coach for a youth team at my club for four years before I started to study and I wanted to use my experience to help the players improve. It’s very fun to work with the kids – it doesn’t matter if it’s during a regular training session or during the ‘Rainbow Program’ where we play football with kids from local schools and help them afterwards with their homework. They look up to you, listen to your words, and welcome you with big smiles as soon as you step onto the pitch. It is a great feeling which gives you so much energy throughout the day!
I’m very grateful to be here at HBUFC and for the insight I am getting in the office and on the field. The experience I get here is priceless, especially with the rewarding feeling of supporting such a great social Project.
Apart from that, Hout Bay and Cape Town are probably the most beautiful places I have ever visited. The landscape with the mountains and the ocean is just amazing and there are so many different places to visit and activities to partake in- it doesn’t matter if you want to see some culture, go climbing or go surfing. Everybody finds something they like.
To conclude, I would recommend everyone to come here. HBUFC gave me the opportunity to get an insightful view on what I want to do after I finish my time at university: I want to work for a sports club in Germany. Also my English improved daily and I learned more about a new culture whilst visiting this beautiful country, not to mention, you can also be a part of a great social project.
Intern Blogpost 1
It has been almost a month since arriving in South Africa, and the experience has been something special. Prior to my departure I felt mostly excited, with some uncertainty and anticipation about what to expect. Amsterdam, the Netherlands was a long way from the spirited shores of Cape Town, and I would be entering a place that was a far cry from what I was used to.
After a departing flight to Kenya, and the ten-hour layover that followed, I landed at Cape Town international airport, immediately feeling the summer heat on my skin as I walked off the plane. After going through border control, I was greeted by a driver named Thomas who drove me to a tucked away part of town known as Hout Bay. It wasn’t long before I found out how connected this community would be, as Thomas told me that his business operated out of the same office where I would be working.
My first impressions of the country were strangely tied to summers in the United States. The summer air paired with the drive through the winding roads gave me a strong sensation of being in New Jersey, the only difference being the drive on the left side of the road. The landscape was breathtaking. Mountains and peaks were scattered across the horizon and palm trees danced in the breeze. The vibrant colors of the flowers rose above the walls and barbed wire that surrounded buildings, and lined the streets to create a brilliant spectacle.
The town here is quite nice. There are a handful of grocery stores in the area, nice restaurants, a few shops spread across town, and even an international school right by the football pitch. A lot of the time I can honestly say that I don’t feel like I’m in an African country. It feels more like California or the south of France.
Though it’s hard to give an accurate description of the people’s feelings here, having only been for such a short period of time, it’s clear to me that not only Cape Town but Hout Bay is a very unique place. Never in my life have I experienced wealth and poverty so close to each other. One minute I can be sitting in the team bus, driving through an impoverished township, and just a few minutes down the road are neighborhoods with guarded entrances and pools.
I’ve learned that there are different kinds of people here as well. When South Africa was colonized by the Dutch and the English, it left behind many white Europeans to find their place in the country. This was in addition to the native blacks that had lived in South Africa for a long time prior to their arrival. A third racial group emerged not long after. These people had many different ethnicities in their heritage and were labeled as coloured during the apartheid era. Over the course of history there has been lots of tension between the blacks, whites, and coloured groups of people, and racism continues to be a pressing issue in the country.
In Hout Bay there are different neighborhoods where you can find each group of people. It was described to me as Hout Bay being a petri dish of South Africa, where the town symbolizes the different walks of life in the country. Everyone lives separately in their own culture and lifestyle, but at the same time, everyone walks amongst each other in town, and the connection between the people here is very close. Every person I come across seems to know someone else that I’ve met, or the place where I work. I can sense that even though sometimes people might have trouble accepting each other, tourists included, they are all part of Hout Bay, and the shared sense of pride in the community somehow still brings them together.
I still have a lot of time, and I’m excited to educate myself more regarding what goes on here. I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences. In the next uploads I’ll be talking about football, the club of course, Hout Bay United Football Community (HBUFC), Cape Town, and more.
Various interns that spend time working for the Hout Bay United Football Community