On 13 February the producers of South Africa’s Oscar-winning film Tsotsi will hand over a newly completed soccer field to the Nhluvuko Primary School in Tshiawelo, Soweto as a way of giving back to the community in which much of the film was shot. Tsotsi lead actors Presley Chweneyagae and Terry Pheto will do the presentation.
The set of Tsotsi’s home, as well as the shebeen set, were built across the road from the school. Says co-producer Paul Raleigh: “While we were shooting the film, producer Peter Fudakowski and I talked about doing something for the community at some stage in the future. Over the last year the authorities have been trying to clean up Tshiawelo as it is very impoverished. We wanted to create something that would benefit both the school and the community. Our original plan was a library complete with computer and Internet centre but the school requested a soccer field instead.”
Although the school already owned the land, it needed to be fully excavated and levelled before it could be turned into a soccer field. “We laid water pipes, fitted an irrigation scheme, planted the lawn and installed goal posts,” explains Raleigh. “Peter and I see this project as a work in progress and hope it might be a stimulus for other sponsors. For instance, someone might offer to sponsor spectator stands and a tuck shop. We’re hoping the filed will become a base for inter-school soccer tournaments.”
Raleigh reports that the makers of the Peter Jackson-produced film D9 shot in the Tshiawelo area in December and subsequently donated a ride-on mower to the school.