South Africa: Soccer To Unite Community Against Gender-Based Violence

The upcoming soccer tournament in the border village of Ramatlabama, North West, will be used to unite communities against the ongoing violence against women and girl children.

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“The rights of women should never be violated. Through this tournament, we want to teach young boys to learn to love and respect our women and girl children,” said Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi.

The Manyedi Youth Tournament, which will take place on Saturday at the Batloung Sports Ground, is also aimed at keeping young people away from alcohol and drug abuse.

“Personal safety is a human right. When communities do not feel safe and live in fear, our country’s economic development and people’s well-being are affected, hindering their ability to achieve their potential.

“Again, the National Development Plan (NDP) is clear that by 2030, people living in South Africa should feel safe at home, school and workplace and enjoying a community life free without fear. Our women should walk freely on the streets and girl children play safely outside,” she said.

The four teams that will play in the social cohesion football tournament are Ikopeleng FC, Miga FC, Makgokgoane FC and 600 FC. Winners will progress to the finals, where the champions will take home a trophy and gold medals. Minister Muthambi will hand over soccer kits to both the champions and losing teams.

Sport a unifying force

Since 1994, sport has been a unifying force in South Africa. A dedicated focus was placed on transforming this sector to ensure equitable access to sporting opportunities.

“It is this type of tournaments that unearthed players like Kaizer Chiefs defender, Eric ‘Tower’ Mathoho who was spotted by coach, Owen Da Gama when playing for an amateur team, Tshiombo FC in Limpopo’s Vhembe District.

“Remarkable players that you watch on TV playing for the big teams in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) have started their career from a grassroots level like the SAB league.

“Today as I speak, the SAB league unearthed some of the bigger names including Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Innocent Mdledle, Lucas Thwala, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Eleazar Rodgers and Ayanda Dlamini to mention but a few.

“Those who follow football will agree with me that in 2012: COPA Coca-Cola changed to a U/15 football tournament,” said Minister Muthambi.

Youth Month

During the month of June, the youth are encouraged to participate in Youth Day activities and to make use of all the support and resources that government has made available to improve their prospects and advance their participation in the economy.

The soccer tournament is one of the activities which the Minister will use to reaffirm government’s commitment in creating opportunities for young people with the view of tackling the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

The tournament will also serve as a platform to raise opportunities for dialogue with the youth and their role towards social cohesion and nation-building.

Following the advent of democracy in 1994, the new democratic government declared 16 June as National Youth Day and June as Youth Month.

This year National Youth Day and Youth Month is celebrated under the theme, “The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing the Youth Economic Empowerment”.

Source: allafrica.com

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