Launch of the Inter-provincial Schools Hockey Tournament
Master of Ceremonies
Mr Simpson, Principal of Rondebosch Boys' High School
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good Evening, Goeie Aand, Molweni
I am delighted to be here tonight and I would like to warmly welcome all our guests and sportsmen from the other provinces to the Western Cape.
My sincere apologies for being late, it is not every day that the US president comes to town. I encourage all of you present tonight to read his speech. The bottom line of his message is that the USA government wishes to partner with Africa for three principle reasons:
- For economic and social opportunity.
- To promote democracy.
- To promote peace.
Peace is essential for the achievement of the first two objectives.
It is also a co-incidence that 44 years ago in June 1969, I was privileged to captain the Eastern Province Schools Hockey Team at this tournament here in Cape Town and, at the time, was in residence at Fuller Hall at UCT (where my sister was a student) during the June vacation. I find a sense of déjà vu that I have just come from the same university to address you tonight at Rondebosch Boys' High School.
I would like to wish all the players participating in this tournament the best of luck. Although I once captained the Eastern Cape Schools Hockey Team, it should come as no surprise that I will be ultimately rooting for the Western Cape, but as a sports enthusiast, I appreciate and value healthy competition.
So may the best team win!
I am also hopeful that this dry weather continues throughout the duration of the tournament. It is not always pleasant to be on the sports field when one of our Cape winter rain storms comes in.
Thank you to Rondebosch Boys' High School for hosting this event.
Rondebosch Boys' High School is one of our leading sporting schools in this province and I am sure you will find the facilities which have been arranged more than acceptable. As Minister of Education, I must hasten to add that Rondebosch Boys' is also a leading academic school in the Western Cape.
While the sporting facilities at this school are top class, the reality is that many of our schools do not have such amenities at their disposal.
That is why the Western Cape Education Department is working closely with colleagues in other provincial departments to maximise opportunities for learners to participate in sports.
These include the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, who have more than 180 MOD centres across the province to provide sport activities for schools that do not have the resources for effective sports programmes.
The MOD in MOD centres is an acronym for Mass Participation, Access to Opportunity and Development and provides after-school sport activities at some of our poorest schools.
The focus is three-fold – one, to provide an alternative to the youth instead of getting involved in anti-social behavior – we often find that while the parents are at work earning a living, the learners don't have anything to do after school and get involved in anti-social activities.
The MOD centres seeks to address that and provide them with healthy alternatives, like soccer, cricket, netball, softball, athletics and many more sports, which run from 13:00 in the afternoon until 18:00 in the evening.
Secondly, the MOD centres provide an opportunity for the youth to develop their sporting skills, and possibly be identified as a highly talented individual, which could lead to a scholarship at the Western Cape Sport School or getting involved in local clubs and leagues to develop their talent even further.
Thirdly, these MOD centre activities also provide the learners with an opportunity to have fun.
It is encouraging to see the growth in support at these centres over the last two years and am delighted to see so many learners taking part in healthy physical activities, which I believe corresponds positively with their educational activities and development at schools.
I think we are all aware of the huge pressures which go hand in glove with participating in sport at the level of this tournament.
I believe that our schools have a very tough – if not impossible – task of balancing the demands of a fiercely competitive environment with the rational, good values which should characterise school sport.
The temptations of professional sport, money and other rewards, as well as the increasing use of artificial stimulants, are enormous for people with short-term views. Your role as parents, teachers and coaches in providing a healthy balance in this environment is crucial. I believe that you can do this successfully in the best interests of the young people who are participating.
It is with great pleasure that I now formally open the 2013 South African Inter-Provincial Schools Hockey Tournament.
Good luck to all the participants!