Minister Anroux Marais' speech at Inaugural African Street Soccer Championship
WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND SPORT, ANROUX MARAIS
OPENING OF THE INAUGURAL AFRICAN STREET SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
31 AUGUST 2018
Good day, goeiemore, molweni nonke
I am both delighted and privileged to be a part of the Inaugural African Street Soccer Championship, initiated by Oasis: Linking Lives Together, in its objectives to promote the power of football to unite those from differing cultural backgrounds and circumstances. I am always heartened by the opportunity to use football as a tool for social inclusivity, to establish, maintain and strengthen relations and in the case of 2018, to commemorate our late great statesman, Nelson Mandela as we celebrate his centenary this year.
Noted as the first of its kind in world, the African Street Soccer Championship will indeed increase the number of local African footballers through grassroots development, while bridging the gap to next-level participation on various world stages. I can also personally attest for the sustainable success of Oasis programmes and initiatives as they instil notions of fair play, inclusion and respect, all of which are lessons directly linked to daily living, which inevitably contributes to the holistic development of each participating individual.
As Africans we all have a role to play in sharing the African story so that the world at large is aware of the realities of our continent. We need to make them aware of our achievements, our successes, our people, our food, our languages, our cultures, our everyday lives because who better to tell our stories than us?
Who best to challenge the negative global misconceptions by highlighting the enriching realities of Africa other than ourselves as Africans by nature? The elders have left a diversity of African heritage and cultural history for us to foreground, highlight, celebrate and preserve for future generations. I cannot think of a more effective way to showcase our African identity than through the Arts and participating and excelling in sport.
Using sport, much like this gathering is, as a tool to join the global conversation on Africa is central to our efforts at the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport. We have made great strides in creating an enabling environment in which our constituents can thrive holistically. We have prioritised our investment in the youth by increasing access and participation in sport by funding organisations; increasing platforms for talent showcasing and forging new innovative partnerships with others for greater opportunities to come into fruition. I wholeheartedly thank the co-ordinators of this tournament for assisting in our mission to increase participation in the code of street soccer at grassroots level to increase the talent pool of African sporting excellence. We have and continue to embrace our diversity, it is now pivotal to advocate for our inclusion on world stages, such as the Homeless Street Soccer World Cup, to showcase our excellence.
There is no doubt in my mind that the tournament co-ordinated by Oasis: Linking Lives Together will be successful in its objectives with long lasting positive outcomes for each participant and Africa, our continent. I trust you will enjoy the tournament, each other and all the Mother City has to offer. I look forward to the outcomes of the Championship and know that the 2018 Homeless Street Soccer World Cup gold will be brought home to Africa this year, but remember “It is your response to winning or losing that makes you a winner or loser”.
I thank you.