Brand South Africa, Sport for Social Change Network and Special Olympics South Africa partnered on a youth empowerment workshop to commemorate National Youth Day in South Africa.
The organisations hosted 25 athlete leaders with an intellectual disability, affiliated with Special Olympics. The aim of the workshop was to provide leadership skills training and to promote discussion around many of the challenges being faced by the youth in South Africa today.
The youth at the workshop were joined by Special Olympics South Africa Ambassadors Letshego Zulu, Mark Fish, Diamond Thopola, Sbu Shongwe and Paul Kamanga.
Each of the ambassadors shared skills and personal learnings with the athlete leaders who were able to engage with them directly.
Ms Pumeza Ceza, Strategic Relationship Manager from Brand South Africa shared the following “As Brand South Africa we encourage the youth to play their part and get involved in making a significant change to their surroundings. These are our future leaders.
We must aspire to build an inclusive society where every member is considered important and must contribute to change. In so doing, then we would know that this, the 25th year anniversary of South Africa’s constitution, is not in vain. The Constitution states clearly that we must equalise opportunities for Persons with Disabilities; and integrate them into society at large as they form part of an inclusive social model and must be provided equal rights and opportunities.”
The workshop made strong emphasis on the importance of leadership and encouraged Special Olympics South Africa athletes and leaders to advocate for the persons living with an intellectual disability, and also to provide strong leadership within the organisation itself.
Special Olympics South Africa CEO, Ms Ancilla Smith, who presented on the day said “We are committed to using our leadership work to drive change. As much as what the focus of this workshop was to develop leadership skills amongst our athletes; they are also advocating for, and teaching us, what inclusive leadership means. Our athletes have the potential to teach leaders without disabilities how to improve their behaviours and practices, adapt from the ‘norm’, and make their organizations more inclusive. The end result is that everyone gains a new perspective on potential, leadership and true inclusion. I cannot think of a more appropriate lesson for us all to learn on National Youth Day”
The event put more emphasis on sport and there was strong messaging around the importance of health, fitness and mental health during the current Covid pandemic. The Sport for Social Change Network, work through its member partners and organisations who then become champions in spreading the message on the importance of doing away with the stigma and discrimination associated with disability, and thus transforming community attitudes about persons with disabilities by highlighting their skills and the need to see the person beyond their disability.
Mr Allan Williams, Network Director of Sports for Social Change Network, said “If we take our youth seriously, provide tools to strengthen their natural prowess, and empower them to make the changes they want to see in the world, then this planet and its creatures have the chance to heal and flourish. #I don’t celebrate youth day…. I commemorate it.”
ABOUT BRAND SOUTH AFRICA
Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness. Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.
For more information on Brand South Africa, log on to www.brandsouthafrica.com or like facebook.com/BrandSouthAfrica and follow @BrandSouthAfrica on Instagram and @Brand_SA on twitter for regular updates.
The Sport for Social Change Network (SSCN) was established in February 2007 in Nairobi, Kenya at a meeting convened by Nike and attended by 110 delegates from 43 organisations and 17 countries.
The SSCN is a network that acts as an accelerator for NGO’s and CBO’s working in the sector of Sport for Social Change across Southern Africa, enhancing the growth and sustainability of organizations (members) for greater impact on the ground
Facebook: sport for social change network Africa
ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS
Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968, and celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 5 million athletes and Unified partners in more than 180 countries. For more information go to www.sosouthafrica.org.za