Football is more than a sport in Africa; it’s a way of life. Whether it’s on the streets of Lagos or soccer fields in Kampala, it’s hard to find a person who doesn’t have a football at their feet. At Chipper, we wanted to highlight the continent’s sport through a photographic series that captured the essence of football and the people who play it.
Football As Culture
Partnering with Black Arrow, we highlighted the massive soccer subcultures in Lagos, Nigeria, the Gold Coast of Ghana, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Nairobi, Kenya. Black Arrow aims to connect the diaspora, African Americans, and consumers of black culture, through the connection between soccer and creative self-expression like fashion, photography, and story-telling. In “Football Culture Across Africa”, we looked to tell stories through photography and short-form narratives of perseverance, community, and joy stemming from a shared love of football.
Through the Nigeria photo series, photographer and football lover Obidinma Nnebe highlighted the important aspects of the game’s culture in Lagos, Nigeria. In this series, he “tells undiluted African football stories, promoting the beautiful and buzzing football culture in the continent”
Nnebe presented Abu Azeez, a beach soccer player, looking serious amid the game and then smiling big during breaks. In Nigeria, like elsewhere, love of the game starts in the streets where the only ingredients are a ball and passion for the sport. Nnebe captured shots of players taking tumbles and balls flying into car tire goals. He shot in two different locations, under a bridge on concrete and in open dirt fields. Nnebe’s goal was to capture “the shared love for the beautiful game,” and the seriousness of the game, as well as the players’ passion, is evident in all the faces turned towards Nnebe’s lens. The “real heart and soul,” of the football scene in Lagos comes from local clubs and the support of fans who like watching the games, says Nnebe.
Creative Director of “Jheytoocool”, Jesse Abbeyquaye, presented the youth of Ghana through images of the youth with arms around one another’s shoulders or lined up in team Jerseys, serious and ready to win.
Kasi Flavour, a South African brand with a love for presenting South African football “culture, design, and art,” showcased Tumelo Mogale’s story. Condemned for a crime he didn’t commit, reputation tarnished, Mogale chose not to give up on his one big dream – to go pro. After years of sticking to his ambition, he was eventually successful. His home life and his teammates and portraits of Mogale smiling are presented in the photo series titled Perseverance. Finally, Kasi Flavour presents a stylish photoset – Street Jam – a series in which each clothing item, from the shirt in one outfit to the shorts in another, are inspired by soccer icons (Kaizer Chiefs player “Shakes” Kungwane and Jomo Somo, respectively). Retro sunglasses, cool clothes, and powerful poses make this photo series stand out.
Finally, we travelled to Kenya, where Hque Media presents the powerful young girls of Kayole Starlet. They huddle together for team meetings before the game. Once the game starts, we see the dirt rise up in still shots where the ball is being kicked up in the air. Dressed in their Kayole Starlet jersey’s and determined to play the sport they love, the girls come together for a group photo.
To see all the stories and images, head over to the Football Culture in Africa page.