CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Vanderbilt soccer kicked off its two-week international trip Monday traveling to Cape Town, South Africa. After a 16-hour travel day, the Commodores arrived safely Tuesday afternoon.
The Dores spent the first morning of the trip at Table Mountain. Despite rainy weather and fog, Vanderbilt was able to travel to the top of the mountain, 3,500 feet, via cable car and hiked around the top of the mountain to take in all the natural beauty of the region.
Following lunch, Vanderbilt visited Cape Flats, home of the Oasis Project. Cape Flats was created by the Apartheid government which forced Black Africans and Caped Colored people into a segregated area. Nowadays, the flats are predominantly Cape Color, however, are still representative of both groups.
When the area was formed, it was in the middle of a major trading route for the Dutch. The Dutch would sail their ships to Cape Town and restock their cargo before sailing all the way to Asia. Then, the Dutch would buy slaves in Asia and bring them to Cape Town to work in the Company Gardens, which Vanderbilt is scheduled to visit on Friday. Those who still live in the flats are descendants of those who were originally put there during the Apartheid.
While at the Oasis Project, the Commodores were given the opportunity to see how those who live at Cape Flats live daily, take tours of their homes and community and were able to bring joy to the children by putting on a soccer clinic. The clinic was run by the student-athletes at Vanderbilt, in addition to the coaching staff.
“You introduce a soccer ball to people who don’t know each other at different ages, it’s not hard to make a connection no matter what background you’re from, what country you’re from or what the skill level is,” said head coach Darren Ambrose. “For our girls, it’s really eye-opening to see what we are seeing today and I think they feel quite fortunate to be doing what they’re doing.”