Kenyan women united in freedom and football

February 13, 2010

In a society where girls are punished for refusing sex and HIV is endemic, football has become an educational tool

The Ukunda Queens collected their trophy in the dark. It had been a great afternoon of football, with 22 young women from the rural province of Kwale in Kenya slugging it out on a rain-drenched pitch to become district champions of the women’s league, undeterred by a herd of goats that occasionally wandered into the action, displaced from their usual home on the terraces by the crowd which had gathered to cheer, buy cashew nuts and argue the merits of each team.

“The Ukunda Queens are good but look — the other side don’t even have shoes,” said an elderly man. It was true. Ukunda’s barefoot opponents, the Dar Queens, slid helplessly in the mud. But Dar’s supporters had travelled for hours on minibuses to reach the ground and were unwilling to concede defeat. “God willing, th… [more]

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Maki Mandela: “As Nelson's child, I can say I am proud of him”

February 13, 2010

In the week that London marks the statesman’s 90th birthday, his daughter reveals how she overcame her resentment that he was a father to the world, but not to her

Nelson Mandela arrives in London today for what is likely to be his last major public appearance; a 90th birthday charity concert in Hyde Park, starring Amy Winehouse, Annie Lennox and Razorlight. As with most events in his life, Mandela’s farewell will be acted out on a global stage, but the purpose of the event – to raise money for Mandela’s Aids charity 46664 – is intensely personal. For a man accustomed to sharing himself with the world, family tragedies have sometimes proved just too painful. No one knows this better than Maki Mandela, his eldest surviving child. “My father had a lot of pain in his life. He has lost three children, and both of his sons. He is very aware that there is no one to carry on the n… [more]

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