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South Africa: The Ugly Underside of World Cup Soccer Mania

By Linn Washington  Posted by Dave Lindorff (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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By Linn Washington

Soweto, South Africa Less than seven miles from the carefully crafted glitter of Soccer City, the host complex for the World Cup, two legendary South African football players told fascinating often fearsome stories that powerful people want suppressed.

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Two days before the recent World Cup championship match won by Spain "Smiley" Moosa and Nkosi Molala spoke at a community center in Soweto discussing their lives under apartheid and that ugly era's lingering legacy on South African society.

Moosa and Molala both made their marks on South African soccer in the 1970s.

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Under apartheid's rigid racial categories Moosa carried the classification of Indian while Molala was African designations barring these talented players from South Africa's then whites-only national team.

Moosa holds the distinction of being the first non-white ever to play for an all-white soccer club in South Africa.

Moosa's skills and light skin color earned him that short-lived elevation, later snatched back by apartheid restrictions. Continuing discriminatory practices caused Moosa to file a lawsuit against horse racing authorities where he now works as a race announcer.

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Molala, lauded for his fancy footwork, holds the distinction of being the first South African soccer star ever imprisoned for political reasons.

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)

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