More games are ON in South Africa as another Football for Hope Center, QwaQwa, is complete. Centre host loveLife moved into the building February 07, 2013, however now that the accompanying football pitch is fully installed, the organization can run their programs. LoveLife tackles gender inequity, the spread of HIV, and social exclusion, leveraging football as means of gathering and learning.
Design Fellow George Kinuthia, who worked with community partners, developed the design, and oversaw construction of the Centre, sent us his insight from the opening day:
On this beautiful summers day, the humble, mostly quiet settlement of Thibela was graced by yet another notable milestone event - the Football for Hope (FFH) Centre opening ceremony....
The New loveLife Trust, together with the Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality, hosted the event where FIFA, streetfootballworld, the South African Football Association (SAFA), the local chief as well as various other supporting organizations and individuals, graced this auspicious occasion, much to the delight and massive attendance from the ever so grateful community of Thibella.
Aligning with the Africa Cup of Nations [2010 World Cup] football event hosted by South Africa which brought with it the presence of soccer dignitaries from far and wide, the opening ceremony was done strategically as a work in progress launch therefore enjoying the much needed publicity for this noble cause.
George also discusses his experiences as a Design Fellow.
The QwaQwa Football for Hope Centre journey which has lasted just short of a full year since construction began in April 2012, hasn't been the smoothest of journeys, but at the end proving to be a very rewarding one indeed. Looking back now, the consultants team only has smiles and feelings of contentment as the community that has been a part of this journey embraces this gift with open arms.
loveLife is already running its programmes from the Centre and are happy to have an outreach station to spread their message to the youth of this community. To see the community embrace this centre with love and care as they did during various community participation exercises before and during construction gives me the great satisfaction of a job well done.
I am deeply humbled to have been a part of this humanitarian project from inception through all the highs and lows to its completion. It is because of this kind of socially meaningful architecture, particularly for communities that do not have much to pay back with, that I wake every morning proud to be an architect.
The opening ceremony was even covered by Aljazeera.
The center in context (we’re the blue band at the middle of the frame)
The pitch is nice -- the views aren’t half bad either
The multi-purpose room and exterior brick work