South Africa Has More Swag Than Any Other Footballing Nation

The late 19th century to the end of the apartheid era in South Africa saw the rise of townships, urban living areas, built on the periphery of towns and cities. Reserved for non-whites, these sprawling and often underdeveloped slums were contrived as separate living spaces for working class and unemployed black, colored and Indian inhabitants. 

Townships were also referred to as locations or lokasie in Afrikaans. Lokasie gave way to the colloquial term kasi, a word which now encompasses the flavor and distinct style of the townships. 

Designed to contain and control these ethnic groups in apartheid South Africa, these communities faced, and continue to face, many troubling issues. However, the collection of human beings living in these townships gave rise to innovation, artistic beauty and unparalleled character.

Faced with infrastructure problems of sewage, water and electricity, the kasi spirit of togetherness and unity was used to establish the townships as the veritable heart beat of the country.

Nowhere is the disposition and feeling of kasi style as clearly expressed as through the outlet of soccer in South Africa.

Kasi flavor in soccer is to put an emphasis on individual freedom of expression. It contains a mixture of skills and showboating, encouraging rhythm and style over tactics and physicality. 

Played on township fields that make showcasing skill and control that much more difficult, these videos are worthy rivals to anything the And1 Mixtapes filmed. Shoulder feints, step overs, jump cuts and some moves that are absolutely beyond classification, kasi flavor exemplifies everything that makes the world of soccer so astonishing.

A lack of available higher education and gang violence can be traced back to the bitter legacy of poverty, inequality and violence left by apartheid. Kasi flavor is an expression of a more publicly-spirited movement that the West rarely showcases with regards to African reporting and coverage. 

Here’s a way of playing the game that has been suited to fit the community as a whole, the sport offering them a venue to display strength and distinction in the face of previous oppression. It's the world's game but they've made it their own, imparting their own flavor and outlook into the way they interact with the ball. Kasi style gives you a small lens into the communities that crafted it. 

Many professional South African players have used their formative years within these townships, Soweto outside of Johannesburg and Tembisa neighboring Kempton Park being two of the largest, to develop an extremely unique style of play. Some of these players have been able to translate their kasi skills to the professional game, providing flavor and entertainment to a profession increasingly demanding structure and order. 

Kasi flavor is joyful and beautiful, a celebration of both soccer and human life. It's another illustration of how we're all obligated to live and play for our own ideals.  

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