The 'Twenty Ten' project
The CPN team didn't expect to be spending a Saturday night in the home of a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, but such was our thirst to find about probably the most wide-ranging photographic project associated with the 2010 World Cup that that's exactly what happened.
The house in the Johannesburg suburb of Blairgowrie belongs to the South African photographer Greg Marinovich. Marinovich won a Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography in 1991 and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the World Press Photo media project 'Twenty Ten' or, to give it it's full title, 'Twenty Ten: African Media on the Road to 2010 (and beyond)'.
The Project Co-ordinator for World Press Photo is Ruth de Vries, who explained: "'Twenty Ten' is a project of World Press Photo, Free Voice, lokaalmondiaal and Africa Media Online. The project was conceived in the summer of 2008, we then applied for sponsorship from the Dutch National Postcode Lottery and we got it."
In February 2009 the project was implemented and following online applications from over 500 African journalists - photographers, writers and radio journalists - 36 from each discipline were chosen. Each of the 36 photographers initially involved in the project received a Canon camera, courtesy of Canon Europe, and these have been used across the continent of Africa for documentary, reportage and photojournalism, plus multimedia projects shot with the EOS 5D Mark II DSLR.
Ruth de Vries explained: "The photographers were trained in Ghana, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso. At the end of January 2010 a selection committee selected the best of them." The best were six photojournalists, six writers and six radio reporters, collectively known as 'The Dream Team' and tasked with working for six weeks on stories based around the 2010 World Cup.
The 'Dream Team' photographers are Andrew Esiebo (Nigeria), Ahmed Jallanzo (Liberia), Nikki Rixon (South Africa), and Arnaud Thierry Gouegnon (Ivory Coast), plus two multimedia journalists: Simone Scholtz (South Africa) and Shravan Vidyarthi (Kenya). Through a mix of their own ideas and assignments given to them by the 'Twenty Ten' editorial team they have been shooting stories around the World Cup event.
According to Greg Marinovich: "Our vision is to cover things that are not being covered; to dig a lot deeper. We're not looking at matches or match results. We're really trying to create a legacy; a time capsule of this amazing period in Africa's history when the first ever World Cup has come here."
The photographic stories have ranged from Ahmed Jallanzo's documentation of the life of the world's top amputee goalkeeper (Joseph Allen from Liberia), to Arnard Thierry Gouegnon's tale of illegal gold mining in the Free State town of Welkom, and Nikki Rixon's reportage on a 69-year-old woman who opened her Alexandra township home as a 150 rand-a-night guesthouse during the World Cup tournament.
The images reveal another side to Africa far away from on-field activities of the world's most talented and highly-paid footballers, but many of the 'Twenty Ten' photographs may well stick in the mind for much longer than our memories of some of the match action.
Ruth de Vries added: "With all of this we hoped to empower African journalists and to grab the opportunities of the world that would be looking at Africa, and South Africa, during this World Cup."
Although the World Cup action is almost at an end this may not be the end of the 'Twenty Ten' project. Even before a ball was kicked in South Africa it had produced the book 'Africa United: The Road to Twenty Ten', so there may well be more to come.
* To find out more about the 'Twenty Ten' project, and see more of the images and multimedia produced for it, please click here. Look out for a special CPN video interview with Greg Marinovich and Ruth de Vries coming soon on the CPN website.