Johannesburg, Tuesday 11 July 2017 – “Sport in South Africa is a word of joy, celebration, grandeur and overall a remarkable event that nurtures a sense of national identity” said Brand South Africa’s CEO Dr Kingsley Makhubela on Brand South Africa’s partnership with the South African Hockey Association (SAHA) in hosting the Hockey World League Semi Finals 2017 Event.
South Africa was selected by the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) to host both the men’s and women’s legs of the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, accommodating ten of the world’s best men’s team and best female teams, currently competing at the WITS Hockey Stadium from 08 to 23 July 2017.
Charged with managing the reputation of the country as well as co-ordinating efforts that position South Africa as an investment destination of choice, Brand South Africa is simultaneously charged with working with the larger collective to build pride and patriotism amongst citizens of the country. This is where sports comes in.
Dr Makhubela said: “We can all attest to the fact that nation building through sport, in a multi-racial society such as South Africa is a key component that remains a constant – because sports breaks down barriers and is a common factor among all, no matter what race, creed or religion. Sport plays an important role in promoting wellness and social cohesion, and treats sport as a cross-cutting issue, with related proposals in the chapters on education, health and nation building.”
South Africa’s nation-building projects – such as sports and recreation initiatives, were and still continue to be premised on the formulation of a common identity, while recognising and respecting diverse ethnic, racial and other groupings. This is captured in the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) – which states that ‘when building an active nation, it is clear that no country can expect to achieve and sustain success at the elite level without a strong participation base in the community, because that is where every champion has their beginning.’
Marissa Langeni, the CEO of the South African Hockey Association said “Hockey is a sport largely driven by volunteers and enthusiasts. These are the real heroes of the hockey community and it is because of these thousands of people that we identify so strongly with Brand South Africa and their “Play Your Part’ Initiative.”
“As part of this support for Brand South Africa and the “Play Your part” initiative, the SA Men’s Hockey Team have been formally announced as ambassadors for this initiative, a role we take very seriously and identify with strongly,” said Tim Drummond, national captain of the SA Men’s hockey team. “The #SAHockeyRevolution is all about a fresh approach to the game of hockey in South Africa, in essence’ inspiring new ways’.”
“International best practices undeniably demonstrates that successful sporting nations do not just derive their success from the air. Meaningful investments are required from early age for enhanced effective participation in sport, which is why we as Brand South Africa saw this as a unique opportunity for nation building. However, it is evident that this quest can only be achieved if there is commitment by both the public and private sector,” concluded Makhubela.
“Hosting this Hockey World League 2017 event in Johannesburg is a major part of our #SAHockeyRevolution strategy which is aimed at delivering world class hockey to the South African public and inspiring young players by giving them access to the very best players in the world. In addition, we are developing a high performance programme that will allow our elite men’s and women’s teams the opportunity to prepare and compete on the biggest stages the sport has to offer,” said Langeni.
South Africa has successfully hosted a number of key international sporting events, such as the Rugby World Cup in 1995, the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 1996, the 2003 Cricket World Cup and the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the 2013 Afcon and the 2014 CHAN tournaments. South Africa has become a country of choice for international, club and schools hockey teams to tour and prepare for major global competitions.