The Transnet Foundation National Sports Tournament launched on the 23rd of September 2013 to a myriad of funfair at Boksburg Stadium that included South Africa’s sensational artist Doctor Malinga belting out a few of his top hits, showing off his fly-kick and his contagious dance moves to an ecstatic stadium.
The event, which was graced by dignitaries from provincial Departments of Education, sporting bodies and Transnet kicked off with the traditional parade of competing provinces, each displaying its high energy levels through some coordinated dance form - a war cry - an intimidatory dance designed to dissipate an enemy’s energy levels and instill fear.
The jovial mood was nowhere near the end after the war cry, but the event director, the well-known and bubbly former Yo TV presenter, Hulisani Ravele took it a notch further, opening up the dance floor to provinces to further compete, this accentuated by a few teachers who also took to the track to teach the competitors one or two moves that took us back to the 80s.
Track and field events started on Tuesday morning, including chess and all culminated in the gala and award winning event on Wednesday the 25th of September, 2013. Competing teams came from as far afield as the Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
The Free State Province took the lead to prove its dominance and stamina as both the girls and boys football teams bagged the under-17 age group gold medals. They were again called upon to pocket gold medals for chess under-13, under-15 and under-17 teams. The under-17 netball team walked away with a gold medal. However, the highlight of the day was KwaZulu Natal that walked back home all smiles after pocketing a staggering 22 gold medals.
“This annual tournament is testament to our commitment to the development of the youth in South Africa. As the Foundation, we are pulling all stops in our endeavors to ensure that each and every underprivileged South African child at least gets their opportunity of displaying their talent to the world thereby enhancing their chances of being seen and selected by bigger urban teams,” says Senior Manager: Communications at the Transnet Foundation, Sibusiso Ngomane.
The Foundation believes that talent is not the only factor that determines whether potential future stars achieve success, but the opportunities to develop their talent and be discovered also heavily weigh in. For without these opportunities, says the Foundation, the journey from grassroots to glory is unlikely to happen.
Michael Moloto, Senior Manager: Sport says that the development of the rural and farm schools youth is as imperative to South Africa as the development of the urban youth when it comes to sport. “Our youth deserves nothing more than the same equal opportunities nationally and this platform brought to them by the Transnet Foundation is one of the many ways we are showing that commitment. We have been bringing rural and farm schools talent to the fore for many years and this, as is now our tradition, shall continue into the future.”
Moloto points out that in 2012, two multipurpose courts and once soccer ground were donated to each of the following provinces: Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and North West. Construction of the same facilities will be completed in Limpopo and Wakerstroom, Mpumalanga before February 2014, he concludes.
Cynthia Mgijima, Head of the Transnet Foundation says that in our country, remote rural areas are in dire need of support in sports talent development and sports infrastructure to truly offer an opportunity for community upliftment. She says through the Transnet Sport programme investment, the Foundation’s objective is to offer programmes that address this neglect through not only nurturing the growth of previously-disadvantaged youth, but also providing a valuable community-building enterprise that aims to deliver social cohesion.
“Sport played a very pivotal role in unifying our nation. It is vital that we do not lose sight of this, but continue to create an environment that promotes and fosters inter-generational communication and social inclusion. From the Foundation, as well as Transnet (SOC) Ltd, we would like to thank each and every one of the individuals partaking in all sporting disciplines for taking the opportunity to showcase their talents through this platform,” concludes Mgijima.