South Africa is a huge sport playing nation. Whether at the local level or international, South Africa’s love of sport and competitive nature is world class. Despite this, many children lack the resources necessary to have the chance to play an organized, umpired game.
Physical Education is not part of the school curriculum and after school sports is virtually non-existent in township communities. Throughout the world it is known that taking part in sporting activities can greatly improve both physical and mental health but sadly this is missing for many children in Khayelitsha and Langa. In addition, children are often unsupervised during the hours after school, leading to exposure to gangs, drugs, alcohol and abuse.
The Happy Africa Foundation partners with Sporting Chance coaches and with the help of volunteers from African Impact, students in schools in Khayelitsha and Langa are able to have access to physical education during scheduled lessons. When speaking to the sports coach in Khayelitsha, he revealed that he had started running soccer and cricket training after school to allow children to really embrace all that there is to offer from sports. However, the children had no other teams to play against and so could not practice their skills or develop good sportsmanship.
The Happy Africa Foundation believes that sports programmes offer a positive outlet for children’s energy, providing excellent opportunities for physical, social and emotional development. Therefore, each year, The Happy Africa Foundation in partnership with Sporting Chance, host a 10-week long cricket and soccer tournament on the streets of Khayelitsha, Langa and now in Mitchell’s Plain. This year, quarterly interschool competitions in soccer and netball are also being held between Khayelitsha and Langa schools.
By providing quarterly interschool competitions, a sense of team/school pride is developed as well as goal-setting and achievements. The students can train with a goal in mind; motivation is an incredible tool for development. The first quarterly Interschool Competition was held in April between Khayelitsha United and the Langa Warriors; soccer and netball teams from the two Sports Development Schools. The participants learnt about commitment to training, sportsmanship and school pride. The day was a huge success with children now looking to even the scores next term. If you’d like to know more about this incredible day, check out this short video https://youtu.be/QIqOpB5SZZM
The annual street tournament for soccer and cricket also allows for a sense of community spirit, local employment for coaches and umpires and a chance for children to show their talent. Up to 15 community members are employed in each of the three locations to act as coaches and to ensure fair play and competitive spirit is maintained. The streets are closed, the goal posts are converted barrels-come-stumps are deployed and the community turns out in force to support their respective teams. The tournament culminates in a final game in December for both cricket and soccer, with the winner awarded all-important bragging rights as well as trophies and medals. All participants are also given a shirt to continue the show of pride in participating. Over the 10 weeks, around 360 children will have taken part in the street tournament across Khayelitsha, Langa and Mitchell’s Plain.
The inclusion of quarterly interschool competitions as well as expanding the annual street tournament to include Mitchell’s Plain has increased our fundraising target for our Community Sports Development project. So far, we have fundraised R24,920, needing R135,080 more in order to deliver all four interschool competitions and the street tournament. If you would like to help us achieve this goal, please visit www.happyafricafoundation.org/donate.