This past week, PPI-SA celebrated Nelson Mandela Day in true PPI fashion, using basketball as a vehicle to create friendships and drive social change.
Mandela Day was officially adopted by the United Nations as “Nelson Mandela International Day” in 2009. The UN decided that there could be nothing more fitting than celebrating Mr. Mandela’s birthday, July 18, with a day dedicated to his life’s work. The Mandela Day campaign message is simple: Mr. Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for human rights, so in honor of this commitment, people around the world are asked to dedicate 67 minutes of their time to serve their local community. Mandela Day is a call to action for individuals. We are inspired by Mr. Mandela to take responsibility for ourselves and to understand our responsibility to others.
For Mandela Day, PPI-SA teamed up with Discovery Health and Virgin Active Health Club and hosted a “Sports Day” for 500 students at Carrington Primary school, a PPI-SA partner school in our PSP program. The event was a day of fun physical activities for the students, promoting health, wellness, and friendly competition. The day started off with a basketball clinic during which PPI-SA’s office staff, including MD Marcel van der Heever and new OPS manager Debby van der Heever, coached and ran basketball drills and relay races. The students also fed off of the ever-present energy and enthusiasm of Mtu Zulu and Thobani Khumalo. Mtu lead a “foot-fire” drill to get the kids going, while Thobani kept the energy high by inspiring dancing and chanting among participants and spectators as they supported one another. New fellow Kyler McClary also got into the action, running several drills and games in which he awarded points to the teams that cheered the loudest for their teammates.
“The enthusiasm of the kids is what really made this day special,” Kyler remarked. “The energy-level was incredibly high from beginning to end and was a clear sign of the fun and enjoyment being had by players and coaches alike.”
After the basketball clinic, Virgin Active Health Club put on a Zumba Class for the entire school, and Discovery Health had volunteers that provided all students with lunch.
We at PPI-SA believe whole-heartedly in the power of sport, and the way in which it provides a platform for positive individual and social change. Working with South Africa’s youth for 12 years, PPI-SA’s mission runs parallel to the ideals that Mandela has preached in his lifetime. Mr. Mandela has always been a passionate advocate for the rights of children. Mandela said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” PPI-SA has been a leading sport for development organization in South Africa, touching the lives of nearly 1,000 children and young adults every year. We hope to continue to embody the principles and values of Mandela as PPI-SA continues to shape and change the lives of South African youth through basketball. As Mr. Mandela has reminded us, “It’s in our hands” to create a better world.
We would like to thank Discovery Health, Virgin Active, and Carrington Primary for a wonderful opportunity to serve our local community in Mandela’s honor.