By BBC World Service International Publicity
Published November 4, 2010
An exhibition of photographs, celebrating a great year for African football as covered by BBC World Service in multimedia programming in both the run-up to and during the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa, opens in London, England, on November 12, 2010.
Dubbed Africa Kicks 2010, this one-day exhibition and online photo-gallery on bbcworldservice.com/africakicks that is aimed at celebrating ‘a great year of African football’ shall be held at BBC’s Bush House headquarters. The pictures on display will be those selected by Ivory Coast and Chelsea footballers Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou from those taken by BBC World Service journalists and audiences across the continent in the run-up to the World Cup.
The exhibition includes images from the Africa Kicks project, during which the BBC’s multilingual team of reporters toured five countries of West Africa, uncovering untold stories about the region which is home to some of the world’s best footballers and taking pictures of the people, the places and experiences. The collection also features photography contributed by the BBC’s audiences across Africa.
Didier Drogba, voted BBC African Footballer of the Year 2009, and Salomon Kalou were approached by BBC World Service to handpick their choice of the most vibrant and telling images from this vast collection of photography.
As they went through the pictures, Drogba and Kalou thought back to the unforgettable summer of football and considered what it meant for Africa.
“The best image for football in Africa was the World Cup because it was the first one in Africa, and we were all waiting for this moment to happen. I think, to see people being together and sharing the same passion, it was amazing! One of the greatest moments,” Drogba says.
“Looking at an image depicting one of the most dramatic moments for African football, the Ghana-Uruguay game” Drogba says, “When Ghana was playing, I was landing in America for my holiday and I was listening to the game on the way to the place I was supposed to stay and Sad!”
Kalou, who was watching the game in Abidjan, adds that he left before the game’s penalty shoot-out climax.
Another image was chosen by Kalou because it reminded him of the dust on the road to his home-town, Oumé.
Among the pictures chosen by Drogba was that of the village of Niaprahio, where his parents come from: “I have been there many times when I was young. For the people from Niaprahio, it is more than football. It is not often that one of the kids is coming from there and make it and have the chance to be at the place where I am now.”
The two footballers also singled out pictures showing the passions that football evokes.
Commenting on one such photo, Drogba says that it shows just “how far people can go. How crazy some fans might be.”
Sport, and football in particular, occupy a special place in BBC World Service’s multi-media, multi-lingual offer to audiences across Africa. In 2010, BBC World Service brought audiences coverage of the 27th Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, and was in South Africa for the World Cup to broadcast live commentary, in English and Kiswahili, on FM relays across the continent, of all the African teams’ games throughout the tournament.
The BBC’s commentary team in South Africa was joined by three sports journalists from across the continent – Arjun Vidyarthi, a sports editor with Radio Africa in Kenya; Malik Jones, a journalist at Gambia Radio and TV Service; and Stanley Katsande, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation commentator and analyst.
Recently, BBC World Service further expanded this offer with commentary of English Premier League games in Hausa, Portuguese, Somali, as well as extending its existing Kiswahili football programming.
Commenting on a picture from a Congo-Kinshasa village, of a makeshift billboard in front of a stadium, displaying results from football leagues around the world, Drogba says, “Now [that] you have the chance to watch or listen to all Premier League games on the continent, it makes us a little bit more like superstars. So when we go back there, they are proud of us, of what we are doing. It is crazy.”
Farayi Mungazi, BBC World Service sports presenter dubbed “the BBC’s voice of African sport”, says, “The Africa Kicks 2010 exhibition will give people an amazing glimpse into the entire world of what football represents to millions of people in Africa, all the joys and dramas it creates. At the same time, it reflects the ways in which football is part of an ordinary day in ordinary lives of very different people, united by their love of the game. We are looking forward to sharing these unique images with guests at Bush House, and with millions of people in Africa and across the world who will see them online.”