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Thembelani Maphanga
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Building A Winning Nation

25 May 2014, 20:45


We want to build a nation and bring our diverse communities together on common and shared values. Our diverse backgrounds and history will always try to keep us apart not unless we work closely to bring our people closer and start building a nation.

Our country has started this journey 20 years ago and this is work in progress. We must identify the low hanging fruits, we must identify the occasions when South African would come together and share common identity that of being South Africans. We have seen these events bring our people as individuals, as families, as communities and as society.

We must increases and duplicate these events such that we reap the optimal benefits for our people. We must work tirelessly, day in and day out work on enhancing the effect of these events and occasions. 

Over the last 20 years we have seen events around sporting bring our people together with NO resistance or political persuasion. I remember well the events over the years that include:

  1. The Rugby World Cup in 1995 and 2007

  2. The African Cup of Nations in 1996

  3. Our continued success in the national and international stages of cricket

  4. Josiah Thugwane winning the Olympic Marathon in Atlanta in 1996

  5. Our continuous success in the Super Rugby Tournament

  6. The Blue Bulls match that was played in Soweto

  7. Our wins in the Comrades and the Two oceans marathons, and lastly

  8. Our success in hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup, this was the event that even the crime and criminality came to a stop.

Over and above the impact sports have on social cohesion and national build, they bring back a level of pride around the brand South Africa. They afford us the bragging rights and an honor of being respected by those we contest. It is therefore critical that we strenghthen our capacity to perform better in the international stage as this delivers significant benefits which are more appealing that even the gold of silver medal.

We must bring big business into the fold and share the vision with them so that we collectively invest in the development of sport as a tool for social transformation. We must enhance the role of sports in the country’s politics. We must develop a winning strategy for Soccer with the first target being the African Continent.

African countries will respect us even better if we can invest in the grassroots football of our country. This will have long term effects within and outside of our country. We must share knowledge and learn from the successes of rugby and cricket.

Rugby and cricket have built the development structures being assisted by private sector and sometimes by parastals. We must review our investment decisions in marketing such that they are aligned and supportive of our sporting strategy. We must get the government departments, parastatals, agencies of government our business partners and private sector to invest in this vision.

We must sell sports as a tool for social transformation, nation building and community development. Institutions of government must support the initiative and be part of the project, and those that invest in marketing, then this project must be the driver, these organisations will include:

With this number of organisations that are mostly supported by government, we can invest enough investment into this project. These organisations will play different roles and functions in the project. This is a national project that has national benefits and it requires a collective effort of all parties to make this project a success.

With these organisations in the list of support then sports can be elevated to a level where it really becomes a tool that we can use to bring economic and social development, nation building and social cohesion. When this project is prioritised then our Netball, Baseball, Soccer, Athletics, Boxing, Tennis, Road running other sporting codes will get the resources they need to be a success.

They will get the support that they need in order to bring us the respect and the honor, in order to bring us more together because of the success it will bring. 

Brent Gleeson writes “A strong culture isn't something you wish into place, or even will into place.” He says, “You must define values and ingrain them in everything you do. Instilling values takes communication and repetition.

It also takes action and leading by example.” We must build a culture of winning, we must define the values that will bring us success and we must lead from the front.!! It can be done.. 

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