Soweto Derby: Its more than just a game

Two days a season, at least, South Africa comes to a standstill.

Two days a year when the country, when family, colleagues, friends are divided by colour. Days when you choose your allegiance to black and gold or black and white. Days that dawn on the Soweto Derby.

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It’s a day when all over South Africa people identify themselves as Pirates or Chiefs.

You're either a buccaneer(Image: John Karwoski, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

You’re either a buccaneer(Image: John Karwoski, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

Or a Chief. (Image: Laurice Taitz, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

Or a Chief. (Image: Laurice Taitz, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

On the field teams battle for victory and bragging rights. But it’s more than that. It’s about the stands awash with colour. It’s about the noise and the carnival and the riot of costumes. It’s about the dislike between the teams and the lack of aggression and creativity of the fans.

The Buccaneers getting their groove back. (Image: Orlando Pirates)

Will the Buccaneers get their groove back? (Image: Orlando Pirates)

Or will the Glamour Boys keep their fans smiling? (Image: Kaizer Chiefs)

Or will the Glamour Boys keep their fans smiling? (Image: Kaizer Chiefs)

The Soweto Derby is one of the biggest, most passionately supported football derbies in the world. The quality of the football may wax and wane, but it remains one of the few games where there remains no need for opposition fans to be separated.

Orlando Pirates “The Happy Club“ - home to the White Ghosts. (Image: John Karwoski, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

Orlando Pirates “The Happy Club” – home to the White Ghosts. (Image: John Karwoski, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

The Glamour Boys and their fans see themselves as the rebels. (Image: Grace Flora, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

The Glamour Boys and their fans see themselves as the rebels. (Image: Grace Flora, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

It’s a party, a safe place for parents to share their passion and creed. The derby is where grown men cry and celebrations are uninhibited.

Choosing your team starts early and the Derby is a safe space to set your kid on the right path. (Image: Kaizer Chiefs)

Choosing your team starts early and the Derby is a safe space to set your kid on the right path. (Image: Kaizer Chiefs)

Affiliation haunts you

Affiliation haunts you “win, lose or draw.” (Image: Bongani Siziba)

And it's a choice that lasts a lifetime. (Image: Kaizer Chiefs)

And it’s a choice that lasts a lifetime. (Image: Kaizer Chiefs)

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The upstart Amakhozi identity follows you around Soweto, and South Africa. (Image: Stephan, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

The upstart Amakhozi identity follows you around Soweto, and South Africa. (Image: Stephan, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

And you will find, Pirates fans come from all over the country. (Image Orlando Pirates)

And you will find, Pirates fans come from all over the country. (Image Orlando Pirates)