UNODC Southern Africa highlights the power of sport for social good this Nelson Mandela International Day

18 July 2017 - Each year on 18 July, South Africans and people living across the world are encouraged to do 67 minutes of good in celebration of the life and principles of Nelson Mandela: 18 July, marking the birthday of the late icon, and 67 minutes to represent 67 years of his life spent in public service.


This year, UNODC's Regional Office for Southern Africa partnered with a number of organizations working with children and youth, under the 'Gugulethu United for Youth' coalition to celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day and promote sports and play as tools for  social  good and peaceful communities. Bringing together young people and communities, this fun-day event was based on the principles of fair play, peace, unity, service, respect and tolerance and centred on a partnership model among the participating organizations.


Some 700 youth from the Gugulethu, Manenberg and Nyanga communities - areas that have some of the highest crime and murder rates in South Africa - gathered at the Elukhanyisweni Sports and Recreational Community Centre to take part in various activities, including soccer and netball, board games, art, music and drama.


During the opening ceremony, Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety, Security and Social Services of the City of Cape Town, emphasized the city's commitment to prevent crime, by targeting youth and building infrastructure, such as the sports and recreational community centre where the event was held. UNODC Southern Africa's Lorenzo Wakefield meanwhile stressed the importance of sport for youth crime prevention and highlighted the Office's recently launched initiative - Line Up Live Up - in South Africa which will include life-skills training for at-risk youth in the coming months in the Kraaifontein and Malmesbury communities, in collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport.


Following completion of the event's sport and other activities, an award ceremony was held, where UNODC donated promotional materials including sports shirts, lanyards, pens and tote bags from the Doha Declaration Global Programme under which the sports against youth crime work is being undertaken. To conclude the event, the participants sang Happy Birthday to Nelson Mandela and cut a birthday cake in his honour.


As part of this Global Programme, UNODC will continue to support awareness raising activities in South Africa to promote the use of sport as a means to build resilience in young people and help them avoid drugs, crime and violence.


Additional information:


UNODC Southern Africa

Nelson Mandela International Day

Doha Declaration Global Programme

Line Up Live Up: Countering youth crime through sports