Crazy Soweto Soccer Derby

Each year in the Summer, the Kaizer Chiefs and the Orlando Pirates, the two wildly popular soccer teams from Soweto, compete for the Carling Black Label Cup in a sold-out Soccer City stadium that seats 95000 fans.

It is a healthy rivalry, supporters of different teams will sit next to each other, cheering , dancing, waving flags and trumpet their vuvuzela!  This must have been the craziest soccer match I have ever attended. 95000 vuvuzela’s make a LOT of noise!

I cheered for the Pirates, just because I like their cool crossed hand gesture overtime anyone says “Pirates”, but the Chiefs beat the Pirates 2-0. Better luck for the Pirates next year!

Soccer in this country is very much a “black” sports and B’s company security advised we should not go on our own, because it was likely that we would be the only “white/whiteish people” in the stadium. We  would draw too much attention and this could spark provocation in a large crowd. So they sent a driver/CPO to accompany us ( CPO meaning ‘close protection officer’) into the stadium. Since he was white as well (definitely whiter than me), and wearing a formal jacket in a crowd full of soccer jerseys, I think he drew more attention then we did. It is not always easy to understand the safety measures in this country, and we don’t want to contest it too much. But in this case, I honestly believe we would have been perfectly fine on our own.

On a side note: it is also a creative marketing event for Carling Black Label beer. Prior to the event, customers can choose the starting line-up for both teams. So for the players it is a big deal when they are selected by the public!

And speaking of targeted marketing: if you look closely at the picture you will see an airplane with an EFF banner, which was circulating the stadium all afternoon.  Elections are due a few days from now,  on August 3rd.





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