Alter Gogo is a diptych portrait series featuring grandmothers who play football with the Gogo Getters Football Club in Orange Farm, a large township in South Africa. For them, playing the football has become a passport to a better life, giving the women social relevance in their community, as well as better health. Playing football is their solution to many social and physiological problems like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and alcohol addiction. Alter Gogo also offers an alternative image of African women. Quite often in the mainstream imagination, African women are located in the sphere of “tradition”. They are presented – if at all – as victims of oppression, who have been forced to submit to tribal customs, with no authority, freedom or conception of self. Women with sad faces often complement the ever-pervasive images of Africa as a continent of famine, poverty and violence. Alter Gogo challenges all of these stereotypes as well the role attributed to women in their old age. The grandmothers’ regalia, their proud postures on the soccer field along with the charm of their intimate spaces and loves create a powerful socio-cultural scenario in which soccer is the means and expression of a new gender and generation identity.
Tags: Andrew Esiebo