The 2012 Sport Legends Breakfast
Chairperson of the Standing Committee of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Mr Mark Wiley
Member of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature, Ms Jennifer Hartnick
Former South African Ambassador, Mr Piet Meyer
The Head of Department Mr Brent Walters
Chairperson of the Western Cape Sport Council
Chairperson of the West Coast Sport Council, Mr Jerome Arendse
Chairperson of the Western Province Sport Council, Mr Dave Roberts
Honoured guests (let me especially acknowledge the presence of SA Long Jump Gold medallist at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, Ilse Hayes)
Ladies and gentlemen
Each year the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport honours sport people in identified sport codes for the role they played in ensuring the promotion, growth, development, and transformation of sport within their communities. They often achieved this under difficult circumstances, with the minimum of resources, little institutional support and at great personal sacrifice to themselves and their families. These sportsmen and sportswomen became synonymous with sport in their communities, province and country – they became our legends. This year we acknowledge legends who have worked tirelessly to establish non-racial sport in the Western Cape.
In addition, we to honour those who worked tirelessly to establish school sport and the codes fencing and tug of war.
So what is a legend?
Basic research will come up with synonyms such as star, celebrity, icon, personality, prodigy, superstar, marvel, remarkable, exceptional, superb, extraordinary and excellent.
Someone who certainly falls into this category is legendary sportsman and golfer Gary Player. Amongst his many accolades are the following awards:
- South African Sportsman of the Century Award;
- Order of Ikhamanga (Gold, for exceptional achievement) awarded by President Mbeki for excellence in golf and contribution to non-racial sport in South Africa, 2003;
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Laureus World Sports Awards, Monte Carlo, 2003;
- PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) Tour Lifetime Achievement Award, 2012;
- Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, 1974 (one of the original players inducted there); and
- Honorary Member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews – one of only 10 golfers to receive this honour from one of the oldest golf clubs in the world.
Gary Player did not achieve so much by chance. His achievements were the culmination of a life guided by “commandments” which enable the kind of success achieved by very few people.
These commandments are:
- Change is the price of survival.
- Everything in business is negotiable, except quality.
- A promise made is a debt incurred.
- For all we take in life we must pay.
- Persistence and common sense are more important than intelligence.
- The fox fears not the man who boasts by night but the man who rises early in the morning.
- Accept the advice of the man who loves you, though you like it not at present.
- Trust instinct to the end, though you cannot render any reason.
- The heights of great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight but, while their companions slept, they were toiling upward in the night.
- There is no substitute for personal contact.
Today, the Western Cape Government acknowledges your contribution and bestows upon you the title of Sport Legend. Individually and collectively you have played a significant role in shaping sport in our province. You worked tirelessly to develop the administrative and technical expertise necessary to ensure that sport is administered professionally and within the traditions of true sportsmanship. Backed by experience, knowledge, integrity and example you demonstrated that by being faithful to the Olympic motto, “Citius, Altius, Fortius" (“Swifter, Higher, Stronger") world class performances and achievement are possible – even in times of adversity.
Today is also about reconciling the past with the present. You are being acknowledged for the contribution you made prior to 1992 during a time when this country and sport was faced with the challenge of apartheid. You choose to tackle the problem with the establishment and building of structures that formed the building blocks of non-racial sport. Today we face different social challenges. Present day sport structures are well positioned to tackle some of the development needs within society at large and within local communities in particular.
- Firstly, sport can contribute towards the healing of communities under the siege of gangsterism.
- Secondly, sport can provide the platform to build life skills and positive values.
- Thirdly, sport can strengthen education.
- Fourthly, sport can challenge gender stereotypes.
- Fifthly, sport can help to improve the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities.
- Finally, sport can build social inclusion and promote cultural warmth.
Sport structures of the future must be more than just providers of technical sport skills. They will have to take the development needs of their communities more seriously.
The sport fraternity is being challenged to become the builders of communities. Our present crop of sportspersons and administrators should follow your example. You understood that sport is a powerful platform for building character, communities and social inclusion. Through sport you have imbued many a sportsperson and community with confidence and pride in their local sport heritage and actively promoted the vision of a socially cohesive and active Western Cape.
Congratulations to you: sport hero, our sport icon, our legend.
I thank you.