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African Children and their love for Soccer


by Jessica Hilltout- Photo's

A year prior to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Belgian-born photographer Jessica Hilltout embarked on a seven-month road trip across the continent to get a sense of its people's love of the game.  

'The beautiful game exists in its purest form in what I saw,' she told the New York Times after her trip, 'people playing for the joy of playing.

Some of the more iconic images captured by Hilltout that demonstrate the continent's devotion to the game are the makeshift balls found in some of the more remote villages of Africa.

 

 

Please also read what one Young Man is doing to help.....

 

Pass The Ball

 

 
Jessica Hilltout

The beautiful game? Photographer Jessica Hilltout travelled across Africa to document the continent's love of football and then lengths children will go to make their own balls

 
Love of the game: African children love the game so much they make homemade balls

Love of the game: African children love the game so much they make homemade balls

 

 
Jessica Hilltout traveled around Africa with deflated soccer balls and watched as children managed to find use for them

Jessica Hilltout traveled around Africa with deflated soccer balls and watched as children managed to find use for them

 

 
African children make balls out of bark, rags and other found items

African children make balls out of bark, rags and other found items

The homemade balls often made by children are constructed from various items - rags, tree bark, condoms; if children can mold something into a circular shape, they can turn it into a ball.

According to the Times report, the ' improvised balls bounce like real ones for a few days before the air escapes.'


'So many people have so much and do so little with it,' she said. 'The people I met had so little yet managed to do so much with it.'

Hilltout's photos were displayed in exhibits in Cape Town and Johannesburg prior to the World Cup. The photos even inspired a book entitled 'Amen: Grassroots Football.'

Hilltout explained the project to her subjects as her wanting 'to do an exhibit in South Africa, and while all the big stars are in the stadiums, I want you guys to be the stars of my show.'

 

 

 

 

Plastic bags are another favorite amongst amateur ball-makers

Plastic bags are another favorite amongst amateur ball-makers

 

 

 

 

 

Hilltout says the makeshift balls will bounce like real ones for a few days until the air escapes

Hilltout says the makeshift balls will bounce like real ones for a few days until the air escapes

 

 

 

 

 

Children often use items like condoms and discarded pantyhose to construct homemade balls

Children often use items like condoms and discarded pantyhose to construct homemade balls

 

 

 

Rubber bands hold together a ball used by African children

Rubber bands hold together a ball used by African children

 

 

 

 

 

An actual ball is a luxury for most African children

An actual ball is a luxury for most African children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the deflated balls Hilltout brought to children across Africa

One of the deflated balls Hilltout brought to children across Africa

 

 

 

 

 

Hilltout: 'The beautiful game exists in its purest form in what I saw - people playing for the joy of playing'

Hilltout: 'The beautiful game exists in its purest form in what I saw - people playing for the joy of playing'