National Indigenous Games kick-off

Friday, September 25, 2009

Durban - The fifth annual National Indigenous Games kicked-off in Durban on Friday morning.

Over 900 participants from all nine provinces will compete in codes such as Intonga/Induku, Morabaraba/Umlabalaba, Ncuva, Juskei, Amagende, Kgati/Ingqathu, Khokho, Dibeke, Shumpu and Drie Stokies.

Through these games, the Department of Sport and Recreation aims to promote inter-community relations and social cohesion within provinces and across the country.

The event officially started with an opening ceremony on Heritage Day. Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation Gert Oosthuizen told the athletes that sport, was a key driver in building social cohesion and appreciation of cultural diversity.

Oosthuizen said the department organised the event to provide an opportunity for young people to display a spirit of national pride and cultural appreciation through sport.

"We see sport as a key driver in building social cohesion, and that of appreciating cultural diversity.

"The success of this event bears testimony to your commitment to nation building in a world whose stability is threatened by global economic recession, xenophobia and climate change," he said.

Since 2003, the department has been coordinating efforts to promote reconciliation and nation building through the indigenous games.

This has contributed to a sustained and growing interest in promoting the games, which have been a key feature in bringing communities together throughout the country.

The department has also been successful in exporting South Africa's indigenous games to the world, in its effort to develop international relations.

Oosthuizen said the event should be used as a model to showcase South Africa's heritage in every province thus engendering a spirit of national pride and patriotism in the country.

The three-day event is taking place at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Howard College Sports Grounds. On Saturday, the winning teams will take part in the semi-finals and finals