Thursday, March 11, 2010

Squatters and the World Cup

South African squatters are suggesting that they will protest during the soccer World Cup to dramatize the lack of affordable housing and horribly deprived and neglected condition of their communities.

Understandable. After all, the South African government and various municipalities are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the Football World Cup, including, the Telegraph notes, $170 million just for security.

But what a difference a different newspaper makes. Here's the lede from the coverage in The Star: "Poor and homeless South Africans are threatening to turn the World Cup into a bloodbath by unleashing a wave of riots during the tournament."

A bloodbath? Riots?

The Star seems to believe that people have no right to point out the horrible inequity of spending millions for the sporting event while spending almost nothing for people's homes and communities.


Jenny Thomas said...

Hi there, I am a graduate student at The New School, and am making a short documentary about finding affordable housing in Brooklyn, and was thinking about doing a piece about squatting in Brooklyn. I was hoping I could meet with you sometime.My email is Thanks -Jenny-

bear guerra said...

Hello Robert -

I hope this finds you well.

My name is Bear Guerra, and I am a documentary photographer who may be working on a photo essay about the squatter city in Caracas in the coming months.

I was wondering if I might be able to email you with a few questions?

You can contact me at

Thanks so much.


Jacqueline Casson said...

great blog. If you would be interested maybe check out its about creating improvement n "informal settlements" the inhabitants dont like the term "squatter".

rn said...

Thanks for your post Jacqueline. I'll check out the blog.

I know that many squatters don't like the term squatter because they think it's pejorative. I don't think it's negative at all. To me, the phrase 'informal settlements' always seemed objectionable because it denies these communities permanence and stability. They are normal urban neighborhoods. Of course, it's up to the people who live there to figure out what they want to call their community.