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Yells, poetry, amapiano, dancing … teen athletes from Langa cheer on the Proteas in the Netball World Cup

Yells, poetry, amapiano, dancing … teen athletes from Langa cheer on the Proteas in the Netball World Cup
The opening ceremony of the Netball World Cup in Cape Town. Photo: Supplied

The Netball World Cup is under way in Cape Town. On Friday evening, members of popular local team the Hurricanes were in the crowd gathered at Langa Civic Hall to cheer on the Proteas in their first game of the tournament.

Battling it out with the sounds of stormy weather, teenagers cheered their national heroes to victory over Wales – raucously acclaiming every ball that made it through the hoop.

This group of netball fans – players from local team the Hurricanes were not breathing the same air as the Proteas, who were some kilometres away at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), playing in the opening game of the World Cup. But every emotion and roar was aligned with the Proteas performance. 

Netball fans in Langa

The Hurricanes Netball Club were on hand at the Langa fan park to cheer on South Africa at the Netball World Cup on 28 July. (Photo: Ziyanda Duba)

Daily Maverick attended the free televised Fan Park event.

The Proteas convincingly overcame their first opponents 61–50. Brimming with confidence, the Proteas then celebrated an 87–32 victory over Sri Lanka on Saturday.  The hosts were outplayed 67-49 by a ruthless Jamaican outfit in their final Pool C game on Sunday evening.

Read more in Daily Maverick here: Proteas begin home Netball World Cup campaign with victory over Wales at roaring CTICC

Ticket sales for the World Cup – which runs until 6 August – are R500 for kids and R700 for adults.

These prices have been a tad controversial in South Africa’s tough current economic climate, so the City of Cape Town and partners have offered alternative viewing experiences in public areas for those who can’t make it to the CTICC.

Netball fans in Langa

South Africans celebrate while watching the Netball World Cup 2023 screening experience at Langa Civic Hall in Cape Town on 28 July 2023. (Photo: Ziyanda Duba)

In Langa, resident and event organiser Neliswa Jaceni worked closely with paramedics, disaster management, security guards, vendors and the welcoming registration team. 

The schedule for the games is available here

The City of Cape Town organised a generator to keep the viewing experience going.

“No load shedding formed against us shall prosper!” one of the young fan’s yelled out.

Langa Sports Council member Jacob Mfini was grateful for the initiative and has been encouraging local youngsters to attend the viewings – to get inspiration and motivation to play sport.

“This is an eye opener, especially for the youth,” declared Mfini. “It is a legacy for our children and a chance to see the South African stars in action – especially having the World Cup in South Africa.

“This means so much to the black community. Most of us cannot afford to go on and watch the game at the CTICC; we are grateful for this viewing experience.”

A sense of pride 

Writer, performer, activist and MC at the Langa Civic Hall, Bulelwa Basse, opened the evening’s proceedings by reciting an original poem titled We are the Same in Every Language, which celebrates South Africa hosting of such a prestigious event while also embracing the country’s struggles. 

“It is not a small feat that we have satellite events within our communities … allow for our community members to have access to a historical moment,” Basse added.

Netball fans in Langa

Bulelwa Basse opens the Netball World Cup screening in Langa on 28 July, 2023. (Photo: Ziyanda Duba)

Such events gave hope of transformation and inspired citizens, said Basse, adding that it was important to celebrate women’s strengths at a time when gender-based violence was so prevalent.

“To see young children, especially young girls, enjoying the World Cup means a lot. Often, our communities are trenches where nothing great comes from … accessibility in events of this nature means a great deal to me.”

Celebrating the win

There was a loud countdown to the last 10 seconds of the game, with the crowd crossing fingers that Wales would not grab a late net. Victory was celebrated with ululation, hugs, kisses and smiles.

Netball fans in Langa

Local netball fans enjoy the Netball World Cup 2023 at a screening at the Langa Civic Hall in Cape Town on Friday, 28 July, 2023. (Photo: Ziyanda Duba)

Then the DJ played the country’s best amapiano tunes as a background to the crowd dancing and cheering at the top of their lungs.

True to GenZ culture, the youngsters took many pictures of themselves in front of the big screen to post to social media.

The Hurricanes Netball Club, founded in 2019, is Langa’s most prominent and sizeable club, and boasts senior men’s, teens’ and seniors’ teams – all with the aim of promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Watching her idols in action on Friday, Hurricanes player Mbalentle Tom (18) said: “I fell in love with the game and I came here to support the Proteas. I would love to one day make it on the team. Watching the game here with my own team, in our own township, is very satisfying.” DM

Public Viewing Areas in Cape Town

  • Proteaville Recreation Centre, c/o Peter Barlow and Abdurahman streets, Bellville South
  • Langa Civic Hall, c/o Church and Washington (King Langalibalele)
  • OR Tambo Multi-Purpose Centre, Jeff Masemola Street, Khayelitsha
  • Portland Indoor Centre, c/o Merrydale & Hazeldene avenues, Portland, Mitchells Plain

More information and a daily Fan Park programme is available here.

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