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#PowerofSport: ‘The YES programme taught me that it is ok not to be ok’

To showcase the spirit of late statesman Nelson Mandela in his centenary year, The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and its South African Chairman, Morne du Plessis hosted a group of young people from around the country to pay tribute to his legacy on Mandela Day.

Speaking to the Power of Sport podcast Du Plessis says when the Laureus Sport foundation was founded in Monaco, Mandela coined the phrase that sport has the power to change the world and use sport to encourage children around the world. He adds that Laureus has 130 projects around the world and they also have 25 projects in South Africa. “Madiba would be proud to see this today. He would be incredibly proud to see 25 projects in this country alone. It is the most projects of any country in the world, he said.” Du Plessis comments are in the latest episode of the podcast series that seeks to highlight the positive impact that sport is having both in South Africa and across the world.

The episode also featured 18-year-old Sihle Sikhakhane, an up and coming rope-skipping champion who says he is in love with rope-skipping. “Because it keeps me away from doing wrong things like drug abuse and alcohol,” he says. Sikhakhane is from Children of the Dawn Home which cares for more than 850 vulnerable children across South Africa and It’s one of the programs under the Laureus Sport for Good umbrella, and it’s changing lives which is something struggle icon Nelson Mandela knew all about.

Also featured on the Power of Sport podcast is Jill Benting who is the Youth Empowerment through Sport coordinator for Laureus, who knows all about how important sport can be in changing a life filled with discouragement and pain into something rewarding and powerful. She adds that she went through challenges when she grew up. “My father was the end all and be all of my existence at the time. And he was taken from me during my final year of high school. It was a sudden death, he was diagnosed with cancer and he didn’t live very long after he was diagnosed,” she says.

Benting says she joined the YES programme at the age of 23 where she learned that is ok, not to be ok.  The YES program aims to build up young people to become ambassadors for sport and forces of change in their communities and there’s a lot more to it than training up as a sports coach or trainer.

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