Wilfried Lemke, the Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, has embarked on a visit to Africa as he continues to promote development of the continent as one of the five priority areas of his mandate.
Following several days in Cape Town (South Africa), this afternoon Mr. Lemke flew to Harare (Zimbabwe) where he will attend a number of meetings with the country’s sport officials before continuing to his final destination — Nairobi (Kenya). Below, we offer you a recap of the Special Adviser’s activities in South Africa. We also invite you to on our Flickr for some photos of the visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unosdp/albums/72157658874588786. Upon his arrival in South Africa, Wilfried Lemke attended the 2nd Cape Town International Peace Conference and Expo (http://www.foundationforsportanddevelopmentandpeace.com/?page_id=7812), a summit aiming to promote sport and recreation as tools for building social cohesion and peace. The Special Adviser addressed the forum explaining the role of sport in advancing the mission of the United Nations and its place in tackling the new set of Sustainable Development Goals, which form part of the post-2015 development agenda (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015) set to be adopted the coming weekend by the United Nations summit in New York. In addition to presentations and panel discussions, which brought together international and local experts of the field of sport for development and peace along with representatives of government, civil society, business sector and academia, the conference comprised four commissions to ensure closer focus on a number of selected topics. Wilfried Lemke chaired one of these groups, dedicated to promoting tolerance and community cohesion particularly through imparting value-based education to youth. On Saturday, the Special Adviser paid visits to three grassroots sport projects based in townships of Cape Town. At Lagunya Rugby Club in Nyanga, Mr. Lemke attended a training session organized weekly by Tag Rugby Association (http://www.tagrugby.co.za/about-tag/tag-rugby-association). As part of its “Adopt a School” programme, every Saturday morning the Association opens the doors of the club for all local children, encouraging them to come and play rugby under the guidance of community coaches. Along with rugby skills, the coaches teach their students good sportsmanship and introduce them to five pillars of Tag Rugby: “Teamwork, Ban the bully, Tackle discrimination, Be the difference, Healthy mind in healthy body”. On the day of Mr Lemke’s visit, the session was attended by 180 children. In 2013 and 2014, Tag Rugby Association was endorsed by the Special Adviser for their outstanding effort in raising awareness of risks related to drug abuse and gangsterism, getting children and youth off the streets and creating a safe and stimulating environment for their development, exploration and learning though a range of targeted programmes. From Nyanga, the Special Adviser proceeded to Khayelitsha township to attend AMANDLA EduFootball’s Community Day (https://www.edufootball.org/en/). Hosted by Ikhusi Primary School, first of AMANDLA’s Safe-Hubs (https://www.edufootball.org/en/#!safehub), the event offered children, their parents and other community members a day filled with football-based play activities. Currently, over 3,000 young people benefit on a weekly basis from various projects run by the organization, which aims to create safe spaces in slums that bring together the power of football and learning to empower local youth. While in Khayelitsha, Mr. Lemke also visited a class at Boxgirls South Africa (http://www.boxgirls.org/home-2/international/south-africa/), a project working with primary schools and boxing clubs to bring self-defense and leadership training to girls and young women living in impoverished settlements. “I love the kind of sport that I have seen today, open to people of all ages and ability levels. I want to extend words of appreciation to all organizations that serve their communities by providing access to sport and play for children and adults, and by converting playing fields into platforms for education and development”, commented Mr. Lemke. “I am also proud to see alumni of the UNOSDP Youth Leadership Programme (http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/sport/home/unplayers/unoffice/YLC) actively involved as coaches and sport managers in every project I visited today”. The following day the Special Adviser participated in the 2nd Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, completing the 10km PEACE RUN (http://www.capetownmarathon.com/the-events/peace-run/). Yesterday the Special Adviser delivered a public lecture at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on “The United Nations and Leadership in Sport for Development and Peace”. The lecture was followed by a panel discussion and a question and answer session with UWC postgraduate students in sport, development and peace. Mr. Lemke has been an Honorary Professor of the University since September 2010.
About UNOSDP (www.un.org/sport) The United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) works to promote sport as an innovative and efficient tool in advancing the United Nations’ goals, missions and values. Through advocacy, partnership facilitation, policy work, project support and diplomacy, UNOSDP strives to maximize the contribution of sport and physical activity to help create a safer, more secure, sustainable and equitable future.