Wednesday, 13 June, 2012
If you are a follower of the Laureus twitter account then you will have seen an exciting afternoon of Sport for Good action in Johannesburg yesterday, with a host of sport greats coming together to visit a very special sports project.
Based in the Johannesburg township of Soweto, home to some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities, special guests were visiting the Johannesburg Cubs project, which offers young people of the area the often rare opportunity to take part in high quality cricket training. And the names attending included Chairman of the Laureus Foundation South Africa, the World Cup winning Springbboks coach Morné du Plessis (below), Laureus Ambassador and Leeds United FC legend Lucas Radebe and former rugby star and South African broadcast legend John Robbie.
All of them were at the Braamfischerville Cricket Oval to see how important and life-changing sport has been to the youngsters and also to mark the upcoming June 16 Youth Day. This emotional day commemorates the Soweto uprisings in 1976 and honours young people who lost their lives in the struggle against Apartheid.
The meaning of the occasion was not lost on the young participants, all of whom know first hand how important the struggle toward racial equality is. The main focus of the Cubs project, by bringing Sowetan children together with children from wealthier, primarily white, backgrounds is to further the reconciliation of both groups following years of apartheid.
And following some introductory speeches to the young cricket lovers on the positive impact sport can make on people and society, the special guests were all keen to get involved with some sporting action, with both Radebe (below) and Robbie taking to the crease.
And reflecting on the visit, Morné du Plessis said: “It was a great visit to the Johannesburg Cubs and was good to see the activities and enjoyment amongst the participants. Hopefully they understand that they belong to a larger organization, through Laureus, who make a difference to kids all over the world.”
After what was a approaching a few hours of cricket action, the event concluded with a traditional South African barbeque, known locally as a braai, for all the youngsters and coaches.
Also being celebrated was the continuing partnership between Laureus and the Walk the Talk charity event, proceeds from which directly benefit the Johannesburg Cubs project.
Walk the Talk is a mass participation walk across Johannesburg which draws thousands taking part. Since 2006, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation has been the official charity of the event.
And as the sun set on a beautiful winter's day in Soweto, John Robbie (above) left the youngsters with an inspiring message. He said: "You kids have chances [now] that your parents never had, and you must take these. That's what projects like this are all about. There's a spirit in South Africa that we saw during the World Cup, and shows how people are delighted to help."