Proteas and Western Province cricketing star Laura Wolvaardt was announced as Laureus Sport for Good Foundation SA’s newest Ambassador.
Sporting legends JP Duminy, Natalie du Toit, Schalk Brits, Ryk Neethling, Ryan Sandes, Elana Meyer and Corné Krige were in attendance to help welcome Wolvaardt to the Laureus family at a special lunch, which also coincided with a visit to Zip Zap Circus School, one of the social upliftment programmes supported by the Foundation.
The 24 year old batter has been making waves in the cricketing world since age 13, and the accolades haven’t stopped rolling in. In 2016 she became the youngest centurion – male or female – for SA in international cricket, and was named Women’s Newcomer of the Year at Cricket South Africa’s annual awards less than a year later. In March this year she was added to the Gujarat Giants squad as a mid-season replacement for the injured Beth Mooney in the 2023 Women’s Premier League.
“I feel so honoured to be given the responsibility of being a Laureus Ambassador, says Wolvaardt. “I’ve heard a lot about the Foundation while growing up in the sporting world, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to be a part of the Laureus family while still in my playing career.
“I am thrilled to join hands with Laureus and use our combined platforms to help those who may not have enjoyed the same opportunities I’ve had in life. Everyone should have the chance to play a sport and reap the many benefits that sport provides. One is able to tackle so many social challenges through the power of sport, and it will be amazing to work with Laureus and my fellow ambassadors to address the challenges that our youth face.”
Laureus Ambassadors comprise a group of active and retired sporting icons across the globe who dedicate their time and efforts to uplift the youth through the power of sport. And, says Laureus SA CEO, Marlene Coetzee-George, the vital role they play to support the Foundation’s ongoing mission cannot be underestimated.
“The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation supports over 30 social upliftment programmes across South Africa that use sport as a platform to teach soft- and hard skills to thousands of kids from historically disadvantaged and at-risk communities. In turn, our Ambassadors volunteer their time to support the work these programmes do on the ground.
“No matter where they come from or their socio-economic circumstance, children look up to and are inspired by local and global sporting heroes. And seeing how their faces light up when they come face to face with these sports legends on programme visits cannot be explained in words.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have such a dedicated group of Ambassadors who enthusiastically and selflessly give of themselves to others, and show our youth that they can dare to dream.”
One of the many impactful programmes supported by Laureus is Cape Town’s legendary Zip Zap Circus School, a social circus that has been making a difference in the lives of children from all walks of life since 1992.
Working with a diverse community of children from all backgrounds, Zip Zap Circus School helps kids to ‘dare to dream’ by offering its youth and outreach programmes free of charge. Zip Zap is recognised nationally and internationally as a major contributor to the development within Cape Town and providing sustainability of the circus arts in South Africa.
Many of Zip Zap’s programme beneficiaries have gone on to perform for royalty and world leaders, and the proceeds from their tours and showcases are ploughed back into its various training and outreach programmes.
Through the power of circus performance as a sport, many children who walked through Zip Zap’s doors have gone on to become professional artists working across Europe and North America, while street children have been transformed into skilled and valued artists and technicians in the entertainment and film industries.
Zip Zap won the Foundation’s “Sport for Employability” award during the Laureus Sport for Good Summit in 2022.