South Africa

Power of sport brought to life

2015-04-28 13:18
Sifiso Mchunu passing the rugby ball while participating in a game of touch rugby at the Muizenberg beach as part of the Laureus Youth Empowerment through Sport project visit

Cape Town -The picturesque setting of Muizenberg beach in Cape Town played host to 50 young leaders from across Africa as the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation South Africa used the power of sport to celebrate Freedom Day.

The enthusiastic leaders from South Africa, Lesotho, Kenya, Uganda and Mauritius, participated in two engaging and exciting programmes, Waves for Change Surf Therapy and Vuka Rugby, as part of the Laureus Youth Empowerment Through Sport (YES) programme for 2015.

Laureus launched YES in 2011 to equip young leaders in Africa with the skills and inspiration to effect positive change in their communities by sharing valuable life-lasting lessons and principles that sport embodies.

The young leaders, many of them unable to swim or in the ocean for the first time were introduced to the world of surfing and the Muizenberg waves by Waves For Change Coach and YES Graduate, Apish Tshetsha, and Brandan Lobonne, a YES Leader from Mauritius who uses surfing to target social issues. Vuka rugby coach and YES Pioneer (2nd year) participant, Tisetso Masobe, then led a game of touch rugby, teaching life skills and teamwork through the sport of Rugby.

YES Project Manager, Gita Carroll, commented: “Our successful candidates are selected from a range of sport for social change projects across Africa. They all share a true passion for sport and desire to mentor their peers and uplift their communities”.

The young leaders aged 18-25 from South Africa, Lesotho, Uganda, Kenya and Mauritius making time for a photo op at the Waves for Change Surf Therapy site on Muizenberg Beach before braving the cold for a surf

Speaking at Muizenberg Beach in Cape Town, Morne Du Plessis, Chairman of Laureus South Africa, said: “Freedom day is a day where we could vote for the first time as one country, I remember actually standing in a queue waiting for the vote to be counted, I was actually sorry when it ended, it was a feeling of being born again in that queue. It was a privilege.

“There are so many lessons, teamwork, dedication and effort which can be learnt through sport. Sport has the power to change the world, it’s our motto, I’ve lived through the 1995 Rugby World Cup which has become legendary but I see the same thing through our programmes like YES today.”

Waves for Change Programme Manager Aphiwe Tshethsa said: “When I first started surfing I couldn’t swim and the sport has given me so much. If I had one message today it would be to hold on to Mandela’s legacy because what saw today was a true definition of what Mandela meant when he said ‘nothing is impossible’.”

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, Chairman Morné du Plessis and YES leaders after a game of touch rugby

Lungelo Payi Vuka Rugby Programme Manager said: “It is an important day and it is marked by a special celebration. We’re here and we’re engaged by sport, it’s an absolute privilege.”

Waves for Change is a Surf Therapy & Mentorship programme for violent communities which uses the sport of surfing to help stabilise young people effected by emotional and psychological trauma.

Vuka Rugby, project is a multi-layered competition that aims to get as many kids in the township and Cape Flats areas off the streets and on to the sports field. The project targets 56 schools, many of whom have not played rugby in recent years, and are setting up a league that is played every Wednesday in their own areas. This competition is called VUKA which means ‘awakening’.

For more information on the YES programme and other Laureus supported African projects, please contact: Gita Carroll on

For more information on Vuka Rugby, Waves for Change and Laureus South Africa visit:

Read more on:    laureus

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