Sporting heroes join forces to communicate the power of sport in compromised communities

Cape Town - South Africans are known to overcome more than their fair share of hurdles.

One such organisation making a positive change is the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in South Africa.

Tied into an international network of over 40 countries, with headquarters in London, the South African chapter is chaired by former South African Springbok rugby captain, Morné du Plessis.

The Laureus organisation was the brainchild of Johann Rupert, chairperson of Richemont and supported since its inception, along with Richemont by Mercedes-Benz.

This simple yet powerful idea started in the year 2000 and brings sporting heroes together to unite as a community using their fame, influence and reach, to address social issues using sport.

Some of the South African ambassadors who proudly carry the Laureus torch are: Sevens Rugby Player, Cecil Afrika; Springbok rugby players, Schalk Burger, Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana; former Bafana Bafana Captain, Lucas Radebe; Olympic athlete Elana Meyer; former Proteas cricket captains, Shaun Pollock and Graeme Smith as well as South African cricketing legend, Jacques Kallis.

With this ambassadorial participation, sporting heroes get involved and lend support addressing social issues like HIV/Aids, poverty and violence, using sport as the tool for social change.

One such non-profit organisation, the Hout Bay Cycling Club, was formed to give disadvantaged youth in the Imizamo Yethu community an opportunity to learn all aspects of cycling, bicycle maintenance, road discipline and courtesy to others. With assisted funding from Laureus, the club has been able to combat issues such as substance abuse and gangsterism, both of which are rife in the Imizamo Yethu community.

Yibenathi Ncedana, a rider at the club says: “The Club has also taught me about the importance of self-development and the need to contribute to the growth of others. Inviting riders from Hangberg into the club has also enabled us to know and respect one another more.”

Other projects include the likes of Fight with Insight, a boxing project based in Johannesburg, intended for juvenile offenders who are referred by the court for a diversion program. The Johannesburg Cubs Project is a cricket-training programme for Johannesburg based school children that encourages self-discipline and integrity. Former Manchester United footballer, Ryan Giggs, was announced as a Laureus Ambassador and his efforts paid off when he met the young people at Sport For All, a non-profit organisation in Katlehong, Johannesburg providing sports coaching to keep the youth off the streets and focused on healthy bodies and minds.

Comments Brett Graham, business development and marketing manager for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa: “Laureus’ year round work, both locally and abroad, focuses on harnessing the power of sport, to actively assist communities facing different challenges and ultimately all in need of upliftment. Sport has that ability, and through our network of 160 projects around the world - 14 of which are in South Africa - that we fund and support, we are actively realising our objectives. The key to our success though, is the support of our academy members and sporting ambassadors as well as the calendar of events that we host throughout the year, to not only raise funds for our projects, but also to raise awareness of the work we do.”

One such event is the Laureus Polo Cup presented by title sponsor, Mercedes-Benz, a forthcoming fundraising event in aid of Laureus which takes place on January 30, 2016.

This promises to be an entertaining afternoon with a relaxed gourmet Cape-Winelands lunch.

Some of South Africa’s top sporting celebrities will be attending and guests will be able to enjoy the excitement of a polo match at Val de Vie Estate in the beautiful Paarl-Franschhoek Valley and spend a relaxed day out contributing to a greater cause.

Tickets cost R2 200 each and all funds raised will benefit the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in South Africa.

Polo players in action

Val de Vie

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