Years of dedication to sport for good work in Nelson Mandela Bay paid off for United Through Sport South Africa, who received a national accolade as the Recreation Body of the Year during the 14th annual South African Sport Awards.
Sharing a stage with South African rugby Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, who overcame many adversities because of the power of sport in his own life, made this award even more meaningful to United Through Sport Director, Nick Mould. United Through Sport runs sport coaching and life skills sessions at Kolisi’s former primary school, Emsengeni Primary School in Zwide. Kolisi was offered a rugby scholarship to the prestigious Grey High School in Port Elizabeth when he was 12 years old.
United Through Sport reaches over 12 500 children at close to 70 schools in Nelson Mandela Bay per year. “We try to cover as many of the Primary Schools in the disadvantaged communities across Nelson Mandela Bay as we can, so we actually work in many schools around the Zwide area, of which Emsengeni is one. We also have a good relationship with Eric Songwiqi who was Siya’s rugby coach at Emsengeni and later became Principal of the school. Even after he retired, Eric spent time coaching rugby in our programme. We also have some kids from Emsengeni as well as other schools who have gained scholarships at Grey and other top schools around the Bay, so there are actually a number of kids from our programmes following the same path as Siya,” said Mould.
The South African Sport Awards is an initiative of the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa, initiated in 2004 in partnership with South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). The awards recognise the impact, results and sporting achievements of the South African sport and recreation sectors.
“This is definitely our first major award. Generally, awards are not something we chase or focus on as we are more focused on just doing our work and trying to make a difference. However, it is nice to receive some recognition for what we have achieved, and I hope that winning this award will give us more exposure so that we can continue to expand the work that we do,” said Mould.
He thanked all United Through Sport’s supporters over the past 14 years – including corporate, foundations and individuals who have contributed to running the programmes.
“There are too many to list, but they know who they are, and we would not exist without them. I would also like to thank all the international volunteers of which there have been more than 2000 who have travelled to South Africa to give their time for free to support our programmes and have added a hugely valuable human resource over the years. Thank you to all the children, parents, teachers and the staff at United Through Sport for their team effort in achieving this award – we look forward to growing our impact even more in the years to come,” said Mould.