The South African Sports Heritage (SASH) gave a preliminary presentation, in which the founder of the organisation emphasised the importance of sport, and quoted Nelson Mandela’s views on the power of sport to change the world. This organisation was suggesting various ways in which sport, and the heritage and history of sport, needed to be emphasised. It had huge potential to promote social cohesion and peace and development. It could also be used as a platform to achieve government priorities, promote tourism and promote environmental issues. A national Sports Heritage Project, which could be promoted through the media, and the possible creation of books and magazines, could have a huge capacity for transformation. It was believed that promoting the heritage of sport was vital to the country’s well-being, and there was a need also to create understanding of, and promote, traditional South African sports. Some possible marketing tools were suggested, and it was noted that it may even be possible, in the future, to have a National Sports Museum and satellite museums in rural communities, a South African Sports Heritage Tourism Route, and related tourism packages. The SASH ran a video showing shots of famous athletes, past and present, was shown.
Members appreciated this preliminary presentation, commenting that they had felt nostalgic when viewing the video. They noted that another opportunity would be given to the organisation to present its budget and further information, for further debate by the Committee.
South African Sports Heritage Preliminary briefing
The Chairperson noted that this had been an exciting day on which the Olympic athletes were welcomed in Parliament.
Ms Kaylene Levack, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, South African Sports Heritage, thanked the Committee for inviting her to give a brief introduction to her organisation (SASH). She started her presentation with the quotation from former President Nelson Mandela, saying: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope, where there was previously only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers.”
She noted that her organisation focused on appreciating the impact that sport could have on society. She highlighted the way in which South African sport had helped during the struggle against apartheid and noted that it continued to have a huge potential to promote social cohesion. However, despite this potential, it had tended to take a back seat in South Africa.
Ms Levack identified what she saw as four strategic objectives of sport. These were to use sport for peace and development, to achieve national government priorities, to promote tourism and to promote environmental issues. Sport would play a major role in the struggle to create a better society, better communities and a better life for all. A national Sports Heritage Project would have powerful transformative capacity. Sport was also the single most prominent topic in the media, and this had not only a significant impact on the nation on a day-to-day basis but also had the potential to transform communities and play a vital role in transforming the social fibre of the nation.
Ms Levack then played a video showing pictures of famous athletes, past and present.
She summarised that South African Sports Heritage was an initiative to establish an inclusive National Sports History, that would educate, create awareness and access for South Africa, whilst also promoting social cohesion and national pride, both locally and internationally.
Ms Levack said that SASH believed that developing and promoting an inclusive South African sports history was vital to the well being of the country. She also highlighted the importance of understanding indigenous South African sports, such as Marabaraba. She felt that it could be beneficial to create a memory of South African sport through oral history, as well as via television and film, and said that even mobile screening in the townships could be beneficial. In addition, creating educational awareness and developing platforms such as games could be a means of promotion. Other suggested project promotions could involve platforms such as SABC and the History Channel. This had been used to promote sports in other countries, and all of this did much to promote the positive image of sports. Other possible methods that could be used in South Africa could include coffee-table books or even a South African Sports Heritage encyclopedia. A platform such as video games could also be used to further advance sports, both at home and with tourists, both in the country and internationally. A Sports Heritage magazine could also be published, to make the history more easily available to the average South African. Inserts could be put into newspapers as part of a marketing campaign.
Ms Levack concluded that future programmes to promote South Africa’s Sports Heritage may include a National Sports Museum and satellite museums in rural communities, a South African Sports Heritage Tourism Route and related tourism packages.
Mr G Mackenzie (COPE) said he had felt very nostalgic about the video showing South African sports stars. There had been many faces in the video that he had forgotten until reminded of them, and this showed how things had been with SA sports.
Mr T Lee (DA) agreed with Mr Mackenzie and said he had felt the same way.
The Chairperson said that this was obviously an important and good programme. More opportunity would be given to go over the budget and other specifics of SASH, at a future meeting, when Ms Levack would have the chance to give a more detailed presentation, and Members could then debate procurement of funds and other issues during a subsequent session of the Committee alone.
The meeting was adjourned.
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