Street Kids United

Introducing us to Durban in the same year as South Africa played host to the World Cup, this documentary records an event that was just as paramount to those involved – the Street Child World Cup.

The footballing ‘All Stars’ of Umthombo, a foundation helping homeless children, the film follows some of the training of the budding athletes from the centre. Biza, the coach, works patiently and tirelessly with the children to prepare them for their imminent challenge. He is no doubt helped by his special understanding of their situation, having been homeless himself.

After introducing the centre, children, and workers the film moves rapidly through selection and the team’s relocation to camp. For some, this is the first time in years that they have slept on a mattress, and the combination of unfamiliar experiences (like mucking-in, cleaning and sharing a more orderly space) leads to some frictions developing.

Meanwhile Biza and his other care workers are continuing to encourage the children to return to home and education through counselling and occasional visits to the children’s relatives in the townships. Then when the excitement of the matches arrive (thankfully with fewer vuvuzelas!) emotions run higher than ever.

Tim Pritchard’s film has been simply made, with much hand held camera work. During the ‘Q and A’ session it emerged that he spent extra time on location carefully naturalising the children to the camera. The result is a film that is not only captivating but also very honest in its presentation.

Naomi Barnwell