Soccer as a tool to build social cohesion

When xenophobic violence first broke out in Johannesburg, quickly spreading to the Western Cape in May 2008, Sonke Gender Justice’s One Man Can campaign organised a street soccer festival in Khayelitsha to foster peace and tolerance between locals and foreign nationals living in the country. The event was based on the idea that encouraging communications and shared experiences between foreign nationals and South Africans within a community will help to ease relations within that community and encourage reconciliation. This followed the lead of Nelson Mandela, the founding president of a democratic South Africa, who spoke of the power of sport in uniting people from all walks of life. Street soccer was seen as a powerful tool to unite the people of the African continent and kick out the scourge of xenophobia in our society.