Minister Anroux Marais' speech at the 2022 Sport Legends Awards
Sport Legend Awards
07 December 2022
Rhebokskloof Wine Estate, Paarl
Good morning, Molweni, Goeie more
It is a great honour to be here today to recognize our 2022 Provincial Sport Legends.
The author Maya Angelou said: “If you are going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that cannot be erased.” Today is all about honouring your achievements and the legacy that you have already established.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport is committed to inspiring our youth to take up sport, to find something they are passionate about and to make positive choices to participate rather than falling into social ills. However, we cannot inspire our youth without showing them examples of people who have come from the same background and area as them. It is our older athletes, the ones who have shown that despite difficult circumstances, they could reach great heights, that will show our youth the way. It is you who are sitting here today who gives us hope that we can reach our youth and inspire them.
Sport plays a very important role in society by bringing people together, teaching important values and improving mental and physical wellbeing. Being involved in sport structures for a long period of time can bring meaning to people’s lives in various ways – from being part of a team to continuing to make meaningful contributions after retirement age, the benefits to individuals are countless.
It is very important to me that we acknowledge our sport legends, not only for their achievements in their different sporting codes but also for the important role that they continue to play as role-models for our youth. I know that many of you here today are still actively involved in your communities – whether it is through sharing your expertise, coaching younger athletes or motivating young people to get involved in sport. All of these are extremely valuable ways that you are giving back to your community and I am so grateful for each of you for your contributions to growing sport in our province.
We have also seen that our young people feel more inspired to take up sport when they see someone who looks like them, who speaks like them and who comes from a similar area and background to them achieving on world stages. This is how we can bring hope to our young people and I want to emphasize the important role that you, our sport legends, play in inspiring our young athletes.
Today we celebrate you for following your passion at a time when it was difficult to compete. I know that each of you faced barriers when it came to competition and I want to applaud you for your courage and determination in following your sporting dreams. Many of you led the way in opening up spaces for the next generation to be able to compete freely and I thank you for all that you have done.
The tennis player Serena Williams said after her recent retirement from the sport: “The real achievement isn’t the hardware or trophies that you won. It’s the happiness behind it.” And I know each of you have found joy through being able to do what you love, and that joy is what will continue to inspire others.
I hope that you will enjoy the day with us today as we celebrate you for all your wonderful achievements. Thank you for continuing to lead and inspire others through your contributions to sport. Thank you for being brave enough to compete and follow your dreams. Please continue giving back to your communities and share your stories, skills and knowledge with those around you.
Acting Spokesperson for Minister Anroux Marais
Tel: 076 093 4913