May 29, 2013
The sun shone, having no alternative, upon thousands of walkers on Sunday as they passed en masse along Durban’s stunning beachfront in South Africa.
Families, smiling youngsters, even legendary sports stars had set off for one of the country’s largest mass-participation sport events. The Durban Big Walk.
Lasting 5km up to 25km, depending on how much of a trek the walkers were after, over 30,000 people took part in the event held to encourage healthy living in a fun, family-friendly environment. This was also the very first Durban walk to be held in the stunning coastal area following a series of successful walks in Johannesburg.
It was a particularly special day for Laureus as 30 kids from the Laureus-supported PeacePlayers International South Africa (PPI SA) charity sport project were also taking part. They were joined for the walk by two of our fantastic Ambassadors, Butch James, the Springboks great, and Shaun Pollock, one of South African cricket’s most legendary names.
A couple of kilometres into the walk, Shaun and Butch gave us their impressions of the event.
Shaun said: “I’ve done a couple of the Johannesburg walks, but this is the first in Durban, which is where I live. It’s unbelievable, so picturesque and the atmosphere is great, everyone’s having a whale of a time.”
And Butch was also keen to say how much he enjoyed seeing the young PPI SA project members take part: “It was great to chat to them, but once the walk got going, it was hard to keep up! They were so excited for the walk, smiling from ear to ear. It certainly looks like they’re having fun.”
The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation has worked closely with PPI in South Africa and across the world to produce training programmes designed to teach how sport can be used to promote conflict resolution.
The work being done is truly remarkable, and you can read an example of the success being made from PPI in Cyprus here.
And talking about sport’s ability to bring people together, Shaun had some fascinating words to add.
He said: “Sport can bring people of different cultures, backgrounds, ages together. It connects people. When I retired at 35, I was training with 19 year olds!
“And about conflict resolution, you have to deal with conflict on the sports field while mixing with people of all walks of life . You end up learning a lot and you mature by playing sport. It’s a wonderful thing. We’ve seen what sport can do in South Africa in uniting the nation post-apartheid, it’s been so successful. We can all connect through sport.”
Watching the thousands of different people walking the roads of Durban, it’s clear Shaun is right about that.