WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND SPORT, ANROUX MARAIS
CAPE TOWN SPORT AWARDS 2019
24 JULY 2019
Good evening, molweni nonke, goeienaand,
It is with great honour and an absolute privilege to address you at this very special award ceremony in which we acknowledge sporting excellence honed and practiced in the Metropole of Cape Town this evening.
Making this ceremony all the more significant is that many young people from under-resourced, vulnerable communities made the conscious decision to challenge the stereotypes often associated with these areas by actively participating in their respective sporting codes. Substance dependency, gang intimidation and consequent life sentences in joining and teenage pregnancies have become the orders of the day in many of these areas. All of which culminates into a mutual despondency further eroding at the sense of hope, motivation and self-determination needed to optimise on constructive potential to create an alternate to the destructive path too many youths have already fallen victim to.
Yet, here we are, officially honouring and recognising the shining beacons of hope and inspiration from these very communities suffering under turmoil often brought on by the vicious cycles of poverty and damaging social ills. These are some of the areas in which the army has now been deployed. Although it’s presence has seen a decline in murder cases, the 25 this past weekend is still 25 too many, and has stabilised a warzone to a certain extent, we can all agree that the army is not a silver bullet and a whole of society approach is an urgent necessity.
This evening’s award ceremony personifies this approach. This evening, the Western Cape Government, the district sport council and respective federations renew our collaborative commitment to use the sport as a means of social and personal development amongst young people affected by the societal challenges that often places them at high-risk.
However, this evening we flip the script, this evening we celebrate our sport stars and their solid support base for collectively strengthening each other’s resolve to be better versions of themselves to uplift the very communities they call home, despite the diminishing sense of belonging. This evening we applaud them for making the decision to occupy themselves with positive development programmes through sport and are now deemed youth with potential rather than youth at risk as anti-social activities such as substance abuse and gangsterism failed to and will not become a priority. The seed of the mind-set shift urgently required to grow as a people and to offer our youth better prospects has been planted here, and firmly so, might I add. It is the duty of our Department and government as a whole to allow our people to critically see their environments differently and to establish their rightful place in taking ownership of their circumstances and communities, inculcating a sense of belonging, pride and will to flourish which in turn then lets our children dream and imagine better futures for themselves. All of which firstly stabilises our volatile communities and subsequently raises them into aspirational realities.
I now take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to each one of you for making the conscious decision to participate in your respective codes, grabbed the opportunities afforded to you, put in the hours of training and sacrifice, became accustomed to a healthy lifestyle and had the self-confidence and determination to compete on various levels of excellence. Through your determination and will to succeed, you have not only made us proud but you represented yourself, your families, communities, clubs, province and some of you, our country at prestigious sporting events. This is no small feat and I thank you for the profound implications your excellence in sport truly holds.
A case in point is our national Spar Proteas’ stellar performance at this year’s Netball World Cup in Liverpool. We have already launched our campaign as host city for the 2023 Netball World Cup and trust as a sporting community we will get behind the code to increase development, infrastructure and participation in what is to become the biggest sporting event of the term.
In closing, I congratulate each nominee and thank you for the influential role you have and will continue to play in representing our beloved province and communities with much pride. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and we have a long way to go, but together we can redress the challenges our communities are plagued with through sport. An individual’s circumstances can indeed be improved through participation, developing and excelling in their preferred sporting codes and it is not only the individual’s circumstances changed, but that of their families, their communities, provinces and country as a whole.
I thank you