Dutch football pitch gift for Hillbrow

24 June 2010

The Dutch national football squad, which is based in Johannesburg for the duration of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, has left a lasting legacy in Johannesburg – an Orange Cruyff Court football pitch in Hillbrow.

Residents of Hillbrow were completely bowled over when the Dutch squad rolled in for the opening of the pitch, which represents a lasting legacy for Hillbrow’s underprivileged children, and was donated on behalf of the football team known as the “Oranje”.

The Cruyff Court was officially opened by the Dutch squad, as they joined the Hillbrow community, along with various Dutch and South African dignitaries on Thursday, 10 June at the Madulamoho Housing Association’s BG Alexander building. Former Dutch star players Johan Cruyff and Ruud Gullit were also present.

‘Absolutely fantastic’

“It’s absolutely fantastic and it’s very significant,” said Chris Lund, Madulamoho’s chief financial officer. “Social housing is not just about shelter. It’s also about providing for people’s needs and making a contribution to the community.”

With broken pipes, a collapsed sewerage system and extreme pest-infestation, the colossal BG Alexander building, located in the heart of Hillbrow, was once a hijacked building that was deemed unfit for human habitation.

But with the help of Madulamoho – Sesotho for “living together” – and the Johannesburg Social Housing Company, the residential building has been restored and today has a full catering kitchen, recreation halls, a day care facility and now an authentic Cruyff Court.

“Madulamoho, along with the Ekhaya Neighbourhood Precinct, has been making major inroads in Hillbrow with housing and social development,” said Renier Erasmus, the chief executive of Madulamoho.

‘Make this neighbourhood a community’

“The Cruyff Court is part of a larger plan to make this neighbourhood a community, and we are incredibly grateful for it.”

The Orange Cruyff Court will serve as a venue for the Hillbrow Community Coach Project, a combined soccer and life skills programme that teams up professional football players with local youth.

The programme was made possible by the Netherlands’ Cruyff Foundation in collaboration with Wits University, the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the Royal Netherlands Football Association.

Madulamoho was established in 2004 to roll out transitional and communal housing in Johannesburg’s inner city.

It has provided housing for more than 2 400 low-income tenants. The association aims to create opportunities for residents to engage in sports and recreational activities such as boxing, soccer, karate and aerobics.

Source: City of Johannesburg