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The amateur side from the Western Cape uses football to bring about social change in Hout Bay while arming its players with the tools to make them better human beings.
Within the picturesque valley of Hout Bay, about 20 minutes from the centre of Cape Town, there is a football project so unique and packed with potential that it has won the admiration and patronage of Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.
Hout Bay United has become a shining example of integration, with the rainbow colours across the top of the club’s blue shirts giving a clue as to their intentions. Much more than a football club, it is a vehicle to unite a diverse group of people living in close proximity and assist in breaking the cycle of poverty that remains a daily affliction for so many in the area.
Hout Bay is in many ways a microcosm of present-day South Africa, where citizens of all races mingle and share the same rights, yet remain deeply divided along economic lines that, almost three decades since the end of apartheid, have failed to blur.
There are the largely middle-to-high income white households; those classified as coloured under apartheid, which has traditionally been based in the valley’s harbour area; and the black African residents of Imizamo Yethu township where, for many, life continues to be a daily struggle.
With mountains to the north, east and west, and the sea to the south, this is a community “cut off” from the rest of Cape Town, visually at least, which has grown a sense of pride and togetherness. During the 1980s, locals began selling gimmick passports for the self-styled autonomous Republic of Hout Bay, ostensibly for tourism reasons, but according to some to also show disapproval of the apartheid government of the time.
The Hout Bay football club competes in the South African third
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