Page last updated at 08:20 GMT, Monday, 7 June 2010 09:20 UK

Squalid shadows of South Africa's 'giraffe stadium'

Mbombela Stadium and the village of Matsafeni

A stone's throw away from South Africa's striking "giraffe stadium" in Mpumalanga Province, soon to host World Cup matches, lies the village of Matsafeni - with a few dusty narrow roads, mud huts, rusty shacks and no toilets.

Although not more than 100 metres from each other, Magwaza Msimango, a traditional healer in Matsafeni, tells the BBC's Pumza Fihlani the two are worlds apart:

My home is one of the closest ones to the new stadium. It is so close to it that when there is a match there I feel like I am also inside the stadium.

Magwaza Msimango
My home is in no condition to receive sick people

I have been living here for more than 30 years, treating sick people from home for the past 14 years.

I was happy when I heard that they were going to build a World Cup stadium here, but it has not brought me the "change" promised.

I still am worried that we will always live in poverty.

The main source of water here is a mucky dam, a breeding ground for bacteria. The water is smelly but we use it to cook and clean.

I have lived here for years and seen many officials visit this village to make us promises that they never fulfil. They promise to build us homes, give us electricity and clean water but we are still struggling.

Today my home is in no condition to receive sick people. It is falling apart. It could collapse any day now.

It is like a local clinic, there are always people here looking for help. I also train young healers how to work with the "muti" - traditional medicine. It should be in a good condition but it isn't.

There are also no jobs here, people are really poor. It is difficult to believe that we live so close to the beautiful stadium but our lives are so different.


I do love that the stadium it so close to us. We are a community that loves football so and I go to the matches when I have money to buy the tickets and really enjoy it

At night I am blinded by hundreds of lights from the stadium and yet I use candles to light up my own home, how can this be fair?

It's a bitter-sweet feeling though.

When I look at this tar road separating us from the stadium, I'm worried that that's as close as we are going to get to nice roads.

At night I am blinded by hundreds of lights from the stadium and yet I use candles to light up my own home, how can this be fair?

Some of my neighbours had to relocate; two schools were closed to make way for this stadium.

A young traditional healer prepares a meal at Magwaza Msimango's home in Matafeni
Matsafeni residents cook without electricity

We agreed to all the changes because we hoped it would benefit us in the end - somehow.

The Mbombela Stadium is nearly complete and not a single house has been built for any of us.

We organised a series of protests outside the Mbombela Stadium last year because the officials had not built us the new schools they promised, to replace the unoccupied ones in the time they gave.

We want to be able to go and watch those games without any resentment because of the contrasts we see.

While I live in hope that someday things will change, I will not let that hope get better of me this time.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific