Director: Suridh Hassan
Featuring: Kermit Romeo Erasmus, Ndomo Sabo, Jean Claude Mbvoumin
Synopsis: A feature length documentary film celebrating African football, originally in the run up to World Cup 2010 and now as the African Cup of Nations begins. Soka Afrika explores the power of football to influence Africa for better or worse.
With the African Cup of Nations kicking off this week in South Africa, SOKA AFRIKA explores the line between success and failure for young African footballers trying to make it in the European leagues. In the documentary we follow the contrasting lives of Ndomo from Cameroon and Kermit Erasmus from South Africa.
If you’re a young player in Europe and think you’ve got a hard time, or a youngster in any walk of life, watch SOKA AFRIKA to see the choices and chances that you get, and the ones that can be taken away without anyone giving you a reason, or explanation. Quintessentially, human trafficking is a part of football in Africa, as so-called agents pick up young players and in the case of Ndomo, encouraging his family to give up all their money, which in turn plays with their lives and to quote the film:
“It’s not about blacks Vs whites, or Africa Vs Europe, it’s a question about the commercial exploitation of human beings.”
There’s no question that there are talented players and real, FIFA licensed opportunity that present themselves but when 40% of the agents are fake, surely something still has to be done? Kermit Erasmus is one of the lucky ones, who has the right support and guidance in the whole process of a young kid to a paid footballer whereas Ndomo was trafficked to France as a teenager and then quite literally left on the streets of Paris.
The positive thing is that in recent years, former Cameroon international Jean Claude Mbvoumin has founded Culture Foot Solidaire, a charity that takes the kids caught up in the corruption and endeavours to help them but, most importantly, raise awareness of this continual trend that’s basically ignored by authorities and, quite unfortunately, the majority. You only have to look at the likes of Drogba, who may not be everyone’s favourite footballer, who has been vital to positive developments in his home country of Ivory Coast. He used his success to help bring peace to his country after they qualified for the 2006 World Cup, when he helped to agree a cease fire after five years of civil war. Countries like Cameroon need similar role models who can stand up and highlight the difficulties with corruption and trafficking.
SOKA AFRIKA will hopefully go a long way to pointing out the issues to a bigger audience, therefore making the world know what’s going on, which is undoubtedly important for the literal lives of young footballers coming out of Africa. Watch it, share it and help spread the word.