Minister Anroux Marais' Address at the Western Cape Sports Awards
Head of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Mr Brent Walters
Chief Director of Sports and Recreation, Adv. Lyndon Bouah
Protocol to be edited
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening, molweni, goeienaand
It gives me great pleasure and honour to welcome you to this very significant ceremony. Today, we recognise and celebrate the sporting excellence of esteemed sportspeople hailing from the Western Cape. The sports stars officially celebrated here today have done us proud. They have held the Western Cape’s name high at national and international sporting events.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport encourages excellence and inclusiveness in sport and culture through the effective, efficient and sustainable use of our resources, and through creative partnerships with others. In moving to excellence, we will create the conditions for access and mass participation, talent identification and skills development. With this mission we aim to work better together toward a socially inclusive, creative, active and connected Western Cape.
Excellence in sporting codes requires dedication, motivation and many hours of practice, but also most importantly support and encouragement from significant others, family, friends, coaches, managers and others. Heartfelt gratitude is expressed to them for their continuous support and encouragement toward our athletes’ success.
Today, I not only congratulate the sports stars among us, whom I am immensely proud of, but I thank them wholeheartedly for serving as a beacon of hope to the youth of the Western Cape. Your excellence in sport and success in both national and international arenas of the sporting world allow the youth to aspire to the lifestyle you lead.
Your perseverance and focus have groomed you into significant role models to whom the youth can look up to. At a time when we are faced with so much adversity, the lifestyle you lead and excellence achieved through sport is a symbol of light for so many individuals, especially the youth in vulnerable situations.
History has shown time and again that sport has the ability to bring diverse groups of people together and I firmly believe you personify this notion. In the words of the late great Nelson Mandela, “Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination”. Through this Department I have had the pleasure of witnessing this first hand and I am sure many of you have as well. I call into your memories the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the Annual Cycle Tours and any other sporting events that made you feel proudly South African. Through sport, we all feel a sense of belonging that is void of differing cultural backgrounds, mother tongues and even political affiliation. We are all South African unified by supporting one team, singing one national anthem and flying one flag. Ladies and gentlemen, time and again sport has proven to contribute to the social inclusion of a diverse population.
Tonight we recognise and celebrate this influential ability by celebrating the victories and achievements of our elite sportspeople and in that way we create a spirit of goodwill that ultimately binds us all better together.
I thank you.