Amen: Football’s forgotten heroes

first_img29 June 2010With the spotlight on South Africa during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, it’s easy to forget what the game of football is like elsewhere on the continent – played far, far away from glitzy stadiums, often in remote dusty villages with hand-made balls, bare feet and a couple of crooked sticks for goal posts.This is what photographer Jessica Hilltout is trying to show. Her recently launched book, Amen, seeks to draw attention to the spirit of grassroots football in Africa, and the highly dedicated players and teams that follow the game as if it were a religion.MediaClubSouthAfricaFree high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service. “All the people who live and will remain in the shadow of the World Cup deserve to have a light shone on them, not just for their passion for the game, but more so for the fundamental energy and enthusiasm that shines through the way they live,” she says.In this regard her work delves deeper than the sport itself: “This book is not just about football, or indeed about football in Africa. It is a book that tries to capture the beauty and strength of the human spirit. It pays homage to Africa. It is a tribute to the forgotten, to the majority,” Ogilvy & Mather’s creative director, Ian Brower, writes in the introduction.MediaClubSA Gallery: Grassroots African football“Africa is a world like no other … there lies a passion for the festival, a reason to rejoice. These moments are centred around music and football. Often the two go hand in hand. Football is the one activity that costs nothing.”So be itHilltout believes, and has largely based her work on the premise, that in Africa, football is not a religion, but everything a religion should be. “Football is the glue in Africa – it’s a necessity,” she says.“In every little village, no matter how far off the main road, I’d find people playing football at sunrise and sunset. One small village could have as many as five football fields. Waking up at dawn I’d join the players and spectators gathering together on the football field, like we were congregating at a shrine or a temple. There was a true sense of devotion to the game.”The book’s title is also based on this sentiment. “Amen is a four-letter word, the same in every language. It means ‘so be it’,” Hilltout says.“This is very pertinent to Africa in terms of how people accept their fate, with pride and dignity, tough as it may be. It was also the word I heard the most during my trip. When I would leave groups I had been working with, they would say to me: ‘Amen, amen. May this project work. Amen, amen.’”A life on the roadHilltout, who was born in Belgium in 1977, is no stranger to travelling and a life on the road. As a child her family moved around a lot and spent time in the Seychelles, US, Canada, Hong Kong and South Africa.After studying photography in Blackpool, UK, and a brief stint in advertising in Europe, she bought an old Toyota Land Cruiser with her boyfriend in 2002 and made a 15-month trip from Belgium to Mongolia.Following this, the two shipped the car to South Africa’s port of Durban and drove up through Africa, back to Brussels. Throughout the journey, Hilltout kept log books and a photographic record of the regions and places she explored.“Although there was no thread holding my work together at that stage, it was the foundation of what I am trying to express now: highlighting the value of simple, banal things – that stuff that people usually overlook. My first photographic project that held any ground was called the Beauty of Imperfection, which Amen is linked to. It also pays tribute to the imperfect.”Return to AfricaIt was Christmas 2008, back in Europe, when the upcoming 2010 Fifa World Cup sparked the idea of a grassroots football book for Hilltout and her dad, who ended up working with her on the project. “We thought, that with this huge event happening for Africa as a continent, why don’t we show everyone what football means in the little villages, cities and towns across Africa, the places that aren’t going to be the focus tournament?”For the project, Hilltout concentrated on Southern and West Africa, covering about 20 000km between South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger and Cote d’Ivoire.“There was no real planning for the trip. Nothing had really been pre-arranged. I got on a flight to Cape Town from Brussels, and with me was a Hasselblad with one 80mm lens, 300 rolls of film, a digital camera, my log books, a mini printer and a stock of new footballs. I packed this all into an old VW Beetle that was equipped with a roof rack, three spare tyres, two jerry cans and a higher suspension.”Southern Africa was a natural choice because Hilltout’s dad had the Beetle stored in Cape Town, so she borrowed it for that portion of the trip, but West Africa was a more spontaneous choice.“I decided to go to West Africa because I had never covered that region before … and I knew there were lots of big football countries there, like Ghana and Ivory Coast – so I just flew to Accra. Once I arrived there I bought a Nissan Vanette and kitted it out with four big boxes: one for footballs, one for food and the other two for clothes and film. The whole trip was done on gut-feeling. I would literally arrive in a village … start talking to people … show them my log books with the ideas I had for the project … then off we’d go.“All in all I spent seven months on the road and worked in about 20 different places across the two regions. Each place has a story to it, and that’s covered in the book. There are stories about the guys who fixed boots in the villages, the guy who took in hard-up youngsters and mentored them, and the guy who owns a ‘football cinema’ in West Africa that’s built of mud and sticks, but it can seat 60 fans – and you can even get a fried egg and cup of coffee in there while watching the game!“After this I returned to Europe to put it all together. In total I spent about two years on the project.”Communicating with locals wasn’t too much of a problem for Hilltout, as she speaks English, French and Spanish, but she admits things were a little difficult in Mozambique, as she couldn’t converse in Portuguese. “I drafted a letter and got it translated from Spanish into Portuguese and addressed to the chiefs of the villages I intended visiting.”The contacts she made in the bigger towns, who she says became “her very good friends”, helped her connect with communities in far-off places and translated when only an African language was spoken.“The people with whom I worked were all essential to this project. Once they understood the message I was trying to portray, once I’d gained their trust, they gave me more than I could ever have dreamed. They let me into their villages and homes. They proudly showed me their shoes, their balls, their jerseys.”Trust was a big thing, Hilltout says. “Sometimes it took three days before I took out my camera. I was very aware of the fear of deception, and how these people had perhaps been promised things before. They think people are coming to take – not to give back. And I think this is very well reflected in the history of Africa.”Tired ballsThroughout her trip she exchanged the manufactured footballs she’d brought along for more intricate, home-made ones put together with old socks, pieces of cloth, string, plastic bags and – believe it or not – condoms. Hilltout says that once inflated and covered in a few protective layers, these can keep a ball bouncy for up to three days!“Eventually I found myself with 35 such balls and realised the extent to which they represented the essence of my trip and the heart of the project. I am looking to exchange the balls I collected for equipment for all the players who made this project come to life … so that they can keep on playing the game they love,” she says.UK sports writer and author David Goldblatt talks about this collection extensively in the foreword to Amen: “A few years ago I wrote on the opening page of The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football: ‘Football is available to anyone who can make a rag ball and find another pair of feet to pass to’, as if making a rag ball were a simple matter.“How glib, how foolish, and from a man who had never made a rag ball in his life. I still have not made a rag ball, but I have had the good fortune to see the photographs in this book, Jessica Hilltout’s Amen, and I will never take the manufacture of footballs, from any material, so lightly again.“Among the many things that I have learnt from this book, is that getting or making that ball is no simple task. On the contrary, it is emblematic of the inventiveness, diligence, creativity and single-minded focus of Africans in particular, but of poor communities everywhere,” Goldblatt writes.Exhibitions and book salesThe photographs in Amen are on exhibition in Cape Town, at the Joao Ferreira Gallery, from 15 June to 24 July. A similar exhibition is on in Brussels, Belgium until 18 July.The 208-page hardcover version of Amen is currently available in all major South African book stores for R600 (US$77), and available in magazine format for R190 ($24).Where to from here?“Part one of my campaign is to get the word out about the book, and then the next step is to use the publicity and funds generated from it to make a sustainable contribution to the football communities I photographed in Africa,” Hilltout says. “Of course, I can’t go back and help everyone, but want to focus on two highly committed groups I met in West Africa.”While Hilltout is working to make a positive change in lives of those she photographed, she says her own outlook has changed too.“The life lessons I learned in Africa could never have been learned in Europe. This project has changed me. I’ve begun to understand the true importance of football, which would have been impossible if I hadn’t lived through all the stories in order to capture the pictures. Through football I think I understand a little more about life, or at least a certain way of living.”First published by – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

RW10: The 10 Most Important Stories In ReadWrite’s History

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting ReadWrite celebrates its 10th anniversary on Saturday, April 20, 2013. For the occasion, we’re running a series of articles  looking back—and looking forward.As ReadWrite founder Richard MacManus noted in observing the site’s 10th anniversary, our original goal was “to convert the Web into a two-way system.”Back in 2003, only those with the technical skills to build websites could publish their thoughts. Those walls have broken down. For good or ill, the Web is now clearly a two-way system, and ReadWrite continues to explore what it means to live in a world where every object is something we can all read and write.But it’s been a long journey to get there. For our 10th anniversary, we’ve highlighted the 10 most important stories in the publication’s history. Not just posts that generated lots of traffic or whipped up controversy, but the stories that set an agenda and mapped out what was coming next.These were the stories that helped readers understand the monumental shifts in how we work, how we play, and how we communicate. From the evolution of Twitter as a platform for serious discourse to the steady rise of the Android operating system to rival Apple’s iPhone and iPad, these stories highlight ReadWrite’s history of invaluable analysis amid uncertain time.  1. 10 Future Web TrendsBy Richard MacManus / September 2007From Web services to personalization to the rise of Internet TV, our founder called some big shifts early on.2. The Rise of Twitter as a Platform for Serious DiscourseBy Josh Catone / January 2008Twitter was not barely a year and a half old when writer Josh Catone commented on its potential to go beyond 140 characters. 3. ReadWriteWeb Interview With Tim Berners-Lee, Part 1: Linked DataBy Richard MacManus / July 2009Called a “career highlight” by the man who started ReadWrite 10 years ago, Richard MacManus’s interview with Internet pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee explored the deeper meaning of the Web.4. 13 Tools For Building Your Own iPhone AppBy Sarah Perez / November 2009Just as we covered the democratization of Web publishing, we were early in showing how the app economy was an opportunity for anyone.5. Facebook Wants To Be Your One True LoginBy Mike Melanson / February 2010This story drew a lot of attention because confused search visitors thought this page would help them log in to the social network. What they found instead was a smart and prophetic take on how Facebook would become a universal login service for all kinds of websites and apps.6. How Old Spice Won The InternetBy Marshall Kirkpatrick / July 2010Marketing, too, became two-way, as a major consumer product adopted the Internet’s real-time ethic. 7. iPhone to Android: One Month with the Nexus SBy Sarah Perez / January 2011For ReadWrite, testing gadgets isn’t about checking speeds and feeds. It’s about living with them.8. Google to Launch Major New Social Network Called Circles, Possibly TodayBy Marshall Kirkpatrick / March 2011In a major scoop, ReadWrite learned about a key feature of Google’s Facebook killer months before its launch.9. Top 10 YouTube Videos Of All TimeBy Richard MacManus / September 2012To write about a user-generated site, you have to understand the content its community embraces. 10. Why Are Dead People Liking Stuff On Facebook?By Bernard Meisler / December 2012This investigation into possibly bogus “likes” on Facebook raised big questions about the social network’s value to marketers.Image courtesy of Richard MacManus. From the ReadWrite Summit in May of 2010 (from left to right), Frederic Lardinois, Chris Cameron, Richard ManManus, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Sean Ammirati.  Tags:#ReadWrite#RW10#ten Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img nick statt A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

10 Thoughts on Baylor’s 45-35 Win Over Oklahoma State

first_imgI got a text from my buddy (and former roommate) Nolo after the Iowa State game last weekend late on Saturday night that said “I love this team, I loved the Iowa State win, but there’s a big part of me that wonders if this is a house of cards that’s about to come tumbling down.”I’m not sure tumbling was the correct adjective, but he was right about the rest of it. Baylor did to Oklahoma State what Oklahoma State did to TCU a couple of weeks ago — came out of the gates like world beaters and never let its foot off the gas. The Bears thumped Oklahoma State 45-35 in its own house on Saturday night to end the second-longest winning streak in the country at 12 games. And it seemed much worse than a 10-point win.Here are 10 thoughts on tonight’s bummer of a loss.AdChoices广告1. House money always runs outWe need to start with this baseline — Mike Gundy has been dancing on top of the craps table, randomly pulling hundys out of his hoodie and throwing them at whoever will look at him since the Kansas State game. There is some law associated with teams coming back from this many deficits this many times with this few elite athletes that says that has to run out at some point. It’s unfortunate that night had to be tonight against Baylor, but the ride was always going to end at some point. From the moment James Washington caught this absurd pass to tie it at 14-all, Baylor never looked back.On paper, that stinks because Baylor was riding its second-string (and then third-string!) QB (more on this in a minute), but when you consider the entire season as a whole, this was as much juice as OSU could possibly get out a team that was one of the youngest in the nation last season. I don’t mean for that to sound like an excuse (because OSU played like a couple of diapers I changed this morning) — it’s just the fact that it even got this far in the season was a minor miracle. I don’t know anyone outside of Walt Garrison (who is the orangest to the bone of all of us) who doesn’t think that.2. You have to take advantage of turnoversIf I would have told you about six hours ago that OSU would win the turnover battle 3-0, you would have just headed for the palm trees at Murphy’s and started ordering frozen J&Cs, right? Oklahoma State only scored seven total points on three turnovers. You have to capitalize more than that, not only for the points but also because you have to control the momentum of the game with Baylor. They score so fast and so violently that if you can flip it on them and score the other way right after a pick or a fumble, it completely changes the structure of the game. OSU didn’t until the end and it cost them dearly.3. You’re not going to punt 10x and beat BaylorThe person I wanted to see with 390 total yards tonight was certainly not Zach Sinor. You could put Art Briles at QB and you aren’t going to beat Baylor by punting 10 times. Here’s a look at OSU’s drive chart for the evening.PuntTDTDPuntPuntPuntPuntPuntPuntPuntTDPuntPuntTDTDGundy said it well after the game.#OKstate Mike Gundy: “We didn’t run the football effectively enough to give ourselves a chance.”— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) November 22, 2015Baylor ran it 73 times for 304 yards. Oklahoma State ran it 23 times for eight yards. You probably are struggling against Stillwater High if those are the rushing numbers. I think the thing that was frustrating offensively is that OSU seemed to have two plays for most of the night: bounce it to the outside and pray there wasn’t a fumble or throw it deep and hope for a flag. It was strange. Where were the short slants to Glidden, the deep slants to Ateman? The game felt a little panic-y on offense. On the other hand …4. Baylor’s defense owned the gameBaylor’s defense might have been the least-talked about of the six units on the field (offense, defense, ST), but it was clearly the best. It was shocking how easily they controlled the game. Their lineman (on both sides) are just better than Oklahoma State’s. If you have a decent QB, you can win a whole bunch of games like that. That’s a huge reason Mike Gundy is the second-highest paid public employee in the state of Oklahoma, but the Pokes just got out-lineman’d on both sides tonight (to coin a phrase).Mason Rudolph was scrambling like me at a high school dance and J.W. Walsh never had a chance to really tilt the game in our favor. That’s not an effort problem or a scheming problem. It’s just a “they are flat out more talented than we are” problem. You aren’t going to win those battles very often. [looks at all “Bama sucks” tweets from the last three years, considers deleting, doesn’t, simly doesn’t care]5. Would we view this differently if we were 8-2?I’m not saying OSU isn’t a magical team. I’m saying that we all know it could have pretty easily been 7-3 or 8-2. That’s the sort of talent it had. Keeping that in mind, doesn’t this loss make a little more sense? In a vacuum, Baylor is a better football team, right? I know it’s difficult to imagine telling mid-2000s you that Baylor is going to come to Stillwater and hammer OSU to get itself back into the Big 12 title race (with OSU) with a third-string QB, but that’s the reality we’re all living in right now.OKC Dave said this very well on Twitter.Baylor is just better. I can live with that. Great season. Beat OU.— Dave Hudson (@okc_dave) November 22, 2015That’s a difficult pill to swallow, I realize (especially considering the fact that Baylor is on the verge of its third straight Big 12 title), but there’s definitely a part of me tonight that’s saying, “at least it wasn’t Ames.”6. J.W. is a gamer, but the other guy is tooWas Mason Rudolph great tonight? No. But did he throw for 430 yards (sixth-most in school history) and three TDs on a gimpy leg against a clearly-inspired defense that was already one of the Big 12’s best? Yes, he did. No. 4 is the soul of this 2015 squad. Nothing is ever changing that. But No. 2 is its lifeblood. Now … he can’t do it all, but to see him throwing missiles on one leg in an empty stadium trying to keep the Pokes in it when pretty much all hope was lost. Call me crazy, but I enjoyed that.7. Third down defenseOne issue for OSU’s defense (which was good, not great tonight) was that it couldn’t get off the field. More on that in my stats post (Baylor ran 104 plays), but for now, Baylor was 14/22 on third down and 2/3 on fourth. And it felt like every third down was gained by one or two yards. That’s almost more demoralizing as a defense than giving up a quick-strike TD.Giving up 45 points to Baylor and causing three turnovers should probably be enough to get a W (especially at home), but there were certainly opportunities for that to be much better defensively.8. This loss wasn’t as big of a shock as 2011In 2011, I was in Los Angeles visiting my brother. I remember that day very clearly. I remember the vitriol that poured deep into that Friday night. I didn’t want to hear about Big 12 title scenarios. I didn’t want to think about football. I just wanted to sit in a dark room at a comedy club all night with my wife and brother and not laugh (which is exactly what I did!)Tonight was much different. We knew the house money thing was true even if we pushed it all the way to the back of our minds where only the Brent Parker drop and Desmond Mason’s senior night exist. I was terrified all week because Vegas was just pounding Baylor, even making them a slight favorite with a backup QB (#VegasKnows).That 2011 loss was like somebody taking a dump in the paint of the person working on the Mona Lisa. This one was far less jarring and far easier to understand. In some ways, losing like this to a Baylor team that clearly has immense talent makes you appreciate what OSU has done for the last 12 weeks even more.9. QB depth is a real concern in the Big 12In a league like the Big 12 where you run 1.5x as many plays as, say, the SEC and your QBs are put in much more vulnerable positions (because they aren’t handing it off to fullbacks who get two yards), having two or three QBs has become a real advantage. There were three guys hobbling all over the field all night and one couldn’t play at all. Over in Norman, OU had to go to Trevor Knight and TCU cycled through Foster Sawyer faster than you can say “I will bet $10 million his family is worth more than that.” QB depth in nationally is a big deal. In the Big 12? It’s paramount.So you can bemoan the fact that a third string QB for Baylor took down OSU or you can realize that having at least two (if not three) really good QBs is part of the formula for winning conference championships. OSU has that. OU (sort of) has that. And it’s clear Baylor does too. If anything, the Bears went to Chris Johnson at the perfect time. Right after Glenn Spencer made his wizardly halftime adjustments for No. 3. Briles and Co. threw a wrinkle in things after Emmanuel Ogbah tried to eat Jarrett Stidham’s shoulder pads.10. Big 12 title still on the tableWas tonight disappointing? Yes it was. Was the air let out of our playoff balloon? Yes it was. Am I disappointed that I can’t trash talk Iowa fans on Twitter for the next two weeks? You have no idea. But here’s the reality: Oklahoma State has a real chance to win another Big 12 title. Send a magic man down to Ft. Worth to heal up whatever is ailing Trevone Boykin and pull off a Bedlam surprise and Mike Gundy is bending his hips all the way to the floor about 168 hours from right now.So who wins the Big 12? Here’s the updated and much simpler chart.— Max Olson (@max_olson) November 22, 2015On to Bedlam. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

Halifax police locate Loretta Saunders body

first_imgAPTN National News HALIFAX–Halifax police said the body of a missing Inuk woman was found late Wednesday afternoon along the Trans-Canada in New Brunswick.Loretta Saunders’ body was found at about 4:30 p.m. local time in the median of the Trans-Canada near Salisbury, NB. Saunders was 26.Police said in a statement that forensic investigators from Halifax police and the RCMP are currently retrieving her remains.Halifax police said earlier in the day that they were treating Saunders’ disappearance as a murder and suspects had been identified. Charges are expected to be laid soon.Saunders, a university student originally from Labrador, was reported missing to police by her family on Feb. 17. Her car was located the next day in Harrow, Ont.Blake Leggette, 25, and Victoria Henneberry, 28, were both charged with stealing the car and are incarcerated in read more