2014 July 28: Memories never fade away – ‘Foot for Love’

My reflection on our 2012 Paris trip that we, Thokozani Football Club (TFC) had.

It all started at the Thokozani football club that I joined voluntarily in 2008, hence I’m proud of myself for making such a good decision.

Firstly I would like to convey my gratitude to Cecile Chatrain, Veronica Noseda (who initiated the plan for us to be in Paris) and their generous connected to Zanele Muholi who is friends with them. I cannot forget TFC manager, Lizzy Muholi because without their dedication to our team we wouldn’t be able to fulfil the dream of going to Paris. Most importantly and not forgetting, the Equipe Les Degommeuses for their potential support that they’ve given us.
I have played soccer several teams and I have been rewarded with lot of certificates of appreciation, medals and trophies but with Thokozani I have found love, support and a home.
In 2012 we went to Paris to play against the Equipe Les Degommeuses. That tour to Ile-de France will never fade away in our thoughts, it has been permanently emblazoned on our subconscious minds believe me. It was the best feeling and every homosexual would die to have a chance to experience it.

Days were moving pretty fast, the warmth and love that we were receiving in every workshop or the meeting with the youth from France at the Cybercrips was outstanding”

We have carried the spirit of Thokozani Qwabe whom will always be loved and missed. She is a legend to be remembered for being true to her sexual orientation and for “coming out” as a female homosexual hence she was brutally killed for that. Living your life by being out about your sexual orientation doesn’t mean that you need to be redefined by someone. We don’t need to be “defined” we know who we are and we are happy we need no conversional methods to cure us because this is not a disease, we are not sick and not confused.

At the arrival in Paris round about 10 am, that moment of putting your foot in another country, with different atmospheric pressure and different settings, is an extra ordinary feeling. Thank you for the warm welcome at the Charles De Gaulle airport.

Days were moving pretty fast, the warmth and love that we were receiving in every workshop or the meeting with the youth from France at the Cybercrips was outstanding”

On our first day, we went to a music festival, Solidays, which was against human immunodeficiency virus/acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). There were many games which were conveying health education messages on how to prevent HIV/AIDS, which was the purpose of the festival. When I looked at my watch it was 20:25 and it was still hot because the sun was still up. I was thinking that back at home, everybody was tired from the long day, relaxing inside their homes and watching Generations, and that the sun had set.

Days were moving pretty fast, the warmth and love that we were receiving in every workshop or the meeting with the youth from France was outstanding. I have never felt such a thing in South Africa.
The screening of the documentary, Difficult Love (2010) and ensuring debate with the French citizens was highly noted and appreciated by the TFC team.

Thembela with TFC members in Paris, June 2012. Photo by Laurence Prat

Thembela with TFC members in Paris, June 2012.
Photo by Laurence Prat

 

terra in Paris with TFC member_2008Nompilo and Thembela ‘Terra’ 

 

During the game at Parc de Prins stadium in Paris, 2012. Thanks to Foot for Love organisers

During the game at Parc de Prins stadium in Paris, 2012.
Thanks to Foot for Love organisers

Thank you for the support. I wouldn’t forget the free tour guide visit to the Eiffel Tower,  the Louvre Museum, and the park where the body of Sarah Baartman’s body was confined and on show for public before her body was repatriated to its rightful resting place.

I watched UEFA champions league and I see Paris Saint-German football club (PSG) playing at the “Parc des Princes” (Le Parc) stadium all the time but I never knew that I would be given a chance to play in the stadium for 90 minutes. I just smile and my heart jumps each time I think of it. I always make sure that everybody gets to know that I played at that stadium.

A big thank you goes to all Equipe Degommeuses, Laurence Prat, Paris based photographer who took our beautiful photographs during and after the match.
I cannot forget Lesbiennes of Color (LOCs); the Family Planning in Paris, where the TFC stayed overnight;  the Lesbiennes of colors, who organized the lesbian festival on Friday and Mimi (owner of Rosa Bonheur) and the team, who organized the party at the bar in the Park..
Violette & Co library that hosted Muholi’s talk, the Région Ile-de-France, the Crips Ile-de-France, the City of Paris and everybody who made our visit to Paris, France successful.

Last but not least, Paris Pride was well organised and it really symbolised the acceptance and support from heterosexuals to homosexuals. I was quite surprised by the number of people who attended the march. That was nice and I already miss walking down the streets of Paris because I have never been so free and so not worried about discrimination, biphobia and homophobia. I love Paris, infact I love Parisians.

Please don’t forget us. We, at TFC will never forget you.
Love

Nokulunga ‘Luh’ Cele

 

Related links

2013 June 6: Reviving the spirit of Thokozani

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2 Responses to 2014 July 28: Memories never fade away – ‘Foot for Love’

  1. Lindiwe says:

    oh thats great guys,am talented girl in this sport how would i get you plz

  2. Mary Granger says:

    Hi TFT,

    How can you be contacted. Do you have a website or email address?

    Best regards
    Mary

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