This week’s blog is written by Sbahle Mkhize, PeacePlayers South Africa Developments and Events Manager regarding last week’s basketball court launches.
Since joining PeacePlayers-South Africa as the Fundraising Manager in 2015, the poor/ deteriorating state of the then, 14 year old basketball courts, were a priority for the fundraising team, to renovate. Many of the courts in the schools programme were built when our organization started in South Africa. Raising funds for the refurbishment of basketball courts was a challenge mainly because basketball is not one of the top three (Soccer, Cricket & Rugby) sports in South Africa. So, when I met Mr Gaf Osman at a Laureus Sport for Good breakfast and we started to speak about the needs we have as an organization, it was the court renovation need that stood out for Mr Osman. As a trustee board member for the South African Charitable Muslim Trust (SAMCT), Mr Osman saw the potential of great partnership between the Trust and PeacePlayers-South Africa.
The two schools that were selected for renovation were Sukuma Primary School (Umlazi) and Addington Primary School (City). SAMCT awarded a total amount of R151 000 for the court refurbishments. Both court launches took place in one week and were both a huge success. The principals and teachers were all very helpful all throughout the planning process and without them the court launches were not going to be as great as they were. A major THANK YOU to Mr Moodley and Mrs Reddy from Addington Primary School and Mrs Makhanya from Sukuma Primary School.
At both court launches Mr Osman gave a speech on behalf of SAMCT. Mr Osman said PeacePlayers-South Africa’s philosophy of providing children a sports-based education, teens the opportunity to develop leadership skills and communities with a constituency of skilled, confident mentors for the next generation, was “to be roundly applauded.” He added: “Sport plays an exceptionally important role in education in South Africa. Sadly, however, the basketball courts at Sukuma and Addington Primary School, although heavily used, has lacked necessary maintenance, meaning that it has slipped into a state of disrepair. PeacePlayers-South Africa has led the drive to bring the court back to its former glory, so enabling sport to again become a catalyst for empowerment at both these schools.”
The highlight for us as an organization was the decision both schools took to name their newly refurbished courts after PeacePlayers-South Africa. It shows us that the communities and schools all value our programme. I would also like to take the time to THANK the school governing body representatives, PeacePlayers-South Africa board members, Local Councillors, local surrounding school representatives and parents who all came to see the court handovers and celebrate with us.
The launch of these two courts so early in the year have set the tone and trajectory for PeacePlayers-South Africa for the rest of the year. Thank you to Rasheeda Motala (CSI Specialist SAMCT) and Mr Gaff Osman for playing such an important role in this process. We are looking forward to the endless possibilities of partnerships with SAMCT in the future. Onwards and upwards!