Closing Remarks of the Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA), Honourable Mr Fikile Mbalula (MP),- 7th Edition of the Indigenous Games Festival – 2012, Tshwane Event Centre – Show Grounds, Gauteng Province, Republic of South Africa.
25 Mar 2012Master of Ceremony;
Deputy Minister, Mr Gert Oosthuizen;
Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Mr Kgosientso Ramokgopa;
Director-General, Mr Alec Moemi;
All participants and Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the participants in this 7th Edition of the Indigenous Games Festival in the Republic of South Africa. Your continued participation in these games adds value in the work of the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA).
We regret that the Northern Cape Province could not participate in this Edition of the Indigenous Games due to financial challenges. We must avoid such inconveniences; we should strive for the participation of all our provinces in these activities.
As our mission statement states:
“To maximise access, development and excellence at all levels of participation in sport and recreation in order to improve social cohesion, nation building and quality of life of all South Africans”.
Your increasing participation in these games makes it possible for the SRSA to achieve the objectives of its mission statement of increasing the levels of participation of our people in sport and recreation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this year’s edition of the Indigenous Games saw an increasing number of participants in the games.This increase is a testimony to the popularity and the growing interest of our communities towards the games.
This growing interest shown by ordinary people towards the games adds value to the quality of the games.
It is clear to me that this year’s edition of the games was being organised and run more interactively than the previous ones, with the provincial teams converging here more prepared and ready than ever before.
The level of the competition and the quality of participants in the games reflected the growing nature of the games.
Indeed, this year’s Indigenous Games Festival was vibrant especially because of its inclusion of some elements of tourism as well as family involvement whilst at the same time drawing some more crowds to the event.
This vibrancy, family involvement including more crowd should enable SRSA to draw a symbiotic relationship between Tourism and Indigenous Sports/Games; this should include building a strong link between all our mass participation events and sport economy; marking all these mass events and days to our Annual Calendar for sport and recreation and tourism and locals for future planning.
However, new ways of thinking and organising these games which will enable greater interest and greater adaptivity and resilience must still evolve – whether that be in the form of new leadership approaches or new approaches to collaboration and partnership.
We need to, again, call upon all our universities, institutions of indigenous knowledge as well as the Department of Arts and Culture; including the Department of Science and Technology to work together with the Departments of Sport and Recreation and Basic Education in the promotion of the Indigenous Sport/Games in order to broaden the participation and understanding of Indigenous Sport/Games through the accumulation of indigenous knowledge for the preservation of the Games and the knowledge.
Additionally, Provincial Governments, through their Departments of Sport and Recreation; Arts and Culture as well as Universities in those specific provinces should as well work together to design and promote provincial and locally based Indigenous Sports/Games and knowledge as to further broaden the base of participation and knowledge accumulation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is still important that SRSA lead the way with regard with the Indigenous Sports/Games, but, needs to broaden partnerships for the development of the Games at the local, regional, provincial and national levels.
Though the delivery of the Indigenous Sports/Games is primarily a responsibility of SRSA; many diverse partners are equally necessary to spark the audience interest and spectator numbers and to ensure our vision is achieved.
Partnerships of this nature could also help provinces like the Northern Cape who could not take part in this year games because of financial challenges to take part due to enhanced capacity brought in by structured partnerships and collaborations.
I believe that whilst we have already developed an art of organising these games, the art as a whole still lacks some coherent rationale.You will therefore need to go back to the drawing board to ask yourselves some important questions.
Questions like, so what needs to change? How do we need to rethink cultural philanthropy in the context of the Indigenous Games; and what can we learn from elsewhere?
We will do so with an aim to use these games to develop conceptions of the good life which go beyond these games and possessive individualism.We need to invite society to develop coherent and challenging accounts of the role these games and indigenous knowledge could play in society; and what could the Indigenous Games and Indigenous Knowledge play in helping society imagine and create more fulfilling lives in a better society.
This will no doubt involve all stakeholders in the indigenous knowledge production and activities, including the Department of Arts and Culture and other strategic partners in deepening work in this area and through education and promotion of the games; whilst enriching the lives of all South Africans.
This in the main calls for the development of the ‘South African Recreation and Indigenous Sports/Games Strategy’ in order to create and enhance a “dynamic and leading edge Recreation and Indigenous Sports/Games environment that would enable all the people of South Africa especially the indigenous people of our country to experience and enjoy involvement in sport and recreation through the games of their ancestors to the extent of their abilities and interests and for increasing their numbers in sport and recreation, to perform consistently and successfully whilst increasing the number of the people who watch, follow and enjoy the Indigenous Sports/Games”.
Although SRSA has developed and popularised the Indigenous Sports/Games as well as Recreation and that their development and popularisation has made a tremendous impact on the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles amongst the youth of our country and people, realistically, the ultimate vision of ‘broad-based participation’ of ordinary people in both the mainstream; and in recreation and indigenous sports/games will not be achieved until we double our efforts and build cooperative efforts on behalf of the indigenous majority of our people.
A strong sense of urgency is required to strengthen our resolve to address the physical wellbeing of our people and enhance the recreation needs of ordinary South Africans by broadening the participation base, and increase the quality and diversity of opportunities for all.
This will only be achieved if we have a clear ‘Recreation and Indigenous Sports/Games Strategy’.This strategy should be anchored by a ‘Recreation and Indigenous Sports/Games Plan’ which will have to be incorporated into the existing National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) of South Africa.
It should, at the same time, strive to accomplish three-pronged strategic approach as to achieve our strategic objectives:
Concretely, there is a need to host a ‘National Conference on Recreation and Indigenous Sports’ in South Africa. This conference could be tasked to focus on developing a ‘National Strategy on Recreation and Indigenous Sports/Games’ in the Republic of South Africa. It could also focus on drafting plans to ‘build bridges through recreation and indigenous sports/games’. This could be an excellent event for South Africa and leaders in Recreation and Indigenous Sports to come together and share their experiences and acquire more knowledge in Recreation and Indigenous Sports/Games under several themes which might include: Enhanced Participation, Capacity, Interaction and Integration; and Excellence.
- Facilitate and promote the development of ‘Recreation Activities and Facilities as well as the development and facilitation of Indigenous Sports/Games in all our communities; whilst at the same time developing effective relationships and symbiotic links between recreation and indigenous knowledge institutions and communities.
- Develop an Indigenous Sports/Games Coaching Strategy that will significantly help to increase the number of qualified coaches to provide necessary leadership within our communities for development and preservation of indigenous sports/games and knowledge.This coaching strategy should also be incorporated into the existing Coaching Framework of South Africa.
- Lastly, to increase the number of people participating in recreation and indigenous sports/games; and increase the number of spectators and followers of indigenous games.
Going forward, we must learn new ways of harnessing more support for the games.
In conclusion, I would therefore like to once again thank all the participants to the 7th Edition of the Indigenous Games. Let me also thank the organisers for their sterling work to put together the event of this magnitude.
Special thanks go to all our partners who have made this event a success.
Let us all travel back home safely. With the ultimate distribution of equipments, medals, and prizes; I declare the 7th Edition of the Indigenous Games 2012 officially closed.
Issued by: Sport and Recreation South Africa
25 Mar 2012
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