It was a day of celebration and joy as many of the greatest names of South African sport teamed up in Cape Town to congratulate the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa on its 10th birthday.
An amazing guest list included two Members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, Mike Horn and Mornè du Plessis, Laureus Ambassadors Bryan Habana, Schalk Burger, Ernst van Dyk, Baby Jake Matlala, Ryan Sandes, Shaun Pollock, Lucas Radebe, John Robbie and Natalie du Toit plus legendary South African celebrities Bridgette Hartley, Achmat Hassiem, Vanessa Haywood, Ilse Hayes, Chris Bertish
One of the highlights of the day was the announcement that Cecil Afrika, one of the most exciting rugby sevens players in the world, is to become a Laureus Ambassador.
Also the name of the newest Laureus-supported project was announced – the Hout Bay Cycling Club in Cape Town.
Since its creation, Laureus South Africa, with the support of their Country Patron Discovery Health, has funded sports-based community projects around the country which have helped to improve the lives of more than 11,000 children and tackled many of the social ills which are affecting young people today.
But while enjoying the moment, rugby legend Morné du Plessis, the Chairman of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa, said: “It has been a fantastic achievement and we can allow ourselves a few moments to celebrate but we are already looking forward to the next decade. There is still so much work to do.”
Morné recalled how Laureus began. “The first gathering of Laureus Academy Members in Monaco was addressed by President Mandela. Everybody was slightly sceptical about the concept of sport being a force in a society. But then he came into the room and for the first time we heard the words ‘Sport has the power to change the world.’ That has now become almost a motto not just for Laureus, but for the whole sporting movement in society.
“We now have programmes probably touching on every social issue that our society needs to deal with in all corners of South Africa, fantastically supported by the Laureus Global Foundation, with an amazing array of sporting stars and the energy of the local people and our management in South Africa.”
Springbok rugby star Bryan Habana said: “Being able, as a Laureus Ambassador, to make a difference in people's lives by just giving of yourself where needed is an unbelievably humbling experience and touches one's heart like nothing else. Well done to all at Laureus for the 10 years of dedication and amazing work, in wanting to make a difference to those who so greatly need it within South Africa."
One of the highlights of the day was the presentation of the 'Laureus Shoe' which has been made by children in Grade 6 and 7 of Woodlands Primary School in Heideveld, Cape Flats, Cape Town – from where the Laureus-supported project Great Commission United draws their participants.
Each child made a shoe, which turns into a calendar, for a special Laureus guest to thank all the key partners involved in helping to make the Laureus Foundation South Africa such a success.
During the event, Laureus South Africa Chairman Morné du Plessis thanked Discovery Health for the stalwart support over the years. He said: “In the early days Discovery Health came to us saying ‘we think this is a fantastic idea and we would like to support you in putting up a local Foundation.’ And so one of the first national Laureus Foundation was formed ten years ago and now we are looking towards our next decade.”