Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Key note address by the MEC for Sport , Arts and Culture Mr Lebogang Motlhaping at the Opening of the Provincial Netball Championship

Programme Director
Chairperson of Northern Cape Netball , Ms Maria Maiya
Players, Coaching Staff of the District Netball Teams
Members of the Media
Distinguished Guests

Good Afternoon.

Air Force 1

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a great honour and privilege for me to be invited here and be with you today at the official opening ceremony of the inaugural Northern Cape Provincial Netball Championship.

The different districts represented here, welcome to the John Taolo Gaetsewe District. The district where I was born and bred.

Therefore it gives me extra pleasure to be here with you today and to officially preside over the opening of such an occasion.

It is also a comfortable coincidence for me that I am opening the Provincial Netball Championship during youth month. And what I see in front of me, is district teams whose compilation of team members are mostly youth.

On Tuesday, South Africa commemorated our painful history of segregation and discriminatory laws against the youth of this country. We commemorated the Soweto June 16 uprising where the apartheid regime killed young people who were protesting against the usage of afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

Personally, I celebrate the unbreakable and unshakable spirit of the youth of 1976 who laid down their lives, so that you and I can enjoy the freedom we enjoy today. It is not by luck that the constitution of South Africa now protects and promotes all languages.

As we appreciate their efforts, we resolve to that through working with the young generation of today we do this, because we understand that it is only through involving young people as instruments of change and development that we can sustain the gains reaped by our democracy

The 1976 generation did not relegate the responsibility of liberating the country to their grandparents, fathers and their mothers.

They took to the streets in their numbers to show the Apartheid government and the world that their rights were human rights too.

While the progress of South Africa is commendable and the growth of our young democracy is something we ought to take pride in- we should not forget what the demonstration of those youth who demonstrated against the education policies of this country .They were saying:

  • We will not be denigrated to a life of indignity
  • We will not be taught in a language of the oppressor.
  • We will not allow our education to be inferior to those of the whites and where the colour of our skin determines the trajectory in our life.

Ladies and Gentleman

Whichever school of thought you subscribe to, 1976 was a turning point not only for the country but for youth too.

Here we have hundreds of youth hailing from every corner of this province and descending upon Kathu to fly their flags high.

Here we have young men and women who live in a country where the possibilities are endless.

Here we have men and women who possess the kind of discipline and determination one needs to play a competitive sport. But you also have men and women who are here pursuing their dreams.

I say to you all, half the battle is won.

You have managed to play your hearts out to get here. You have managed to sacrifice hours of your time to hone your skill in order for you to be here today.

Now the challenge that exists is to play like a team. Play extremely hard. Represent not only your teams but your districts too. And remember to have fun while doing it.

These kinds of opportunities exists so that we may begin to see more young men and women in our Province, taking their place on the National stage and flying the Northern Cape flag high.

Remember that this event is attended by 5 districts, 2 senior ladies teams from each district, 1 male from each district and an under 21 team from each district from across the province.

This also serves as a platform for the selection of the Provincial team who will compete at the National Championship taking place in August in Durban.

The National Championship is a platform for young women from the different provinces from the country to display their talents and attract opportunities for development.

Ladies and Gentleman

I need to emphasize that this provincial netball tournament is most certainly not misaligned with the work of my department
The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture dedicates most of its budget to Sport Development. We are of the firm belief that in fact sport can be a useful tool on the road of reconciliation and redress. Hence our motto “ A child in court is a child out of court”

We also believe that sport plays a crucial role as a national unifier and facilitates social cohesion in ways that people cannot even begin to imagine.

As a department, it is the mandate we have been given by the National Development Plan- to use the work that we do to achieve social inclusion.

That is why we are proud supporters of the Provincial Championships- because they have a role to play in developing players from every corner and every district of this province.

We support netball at school sport level and therefore as part of ensuring that the talents of school going netball players are nurtured and developed to their full potential, Northern Cape High School will be utilized as the hub where they will receive advanced coaching, training and mentoring.

Netball is one of the most popular sport played by women across the province , and as a Province we have honed the skills of Jessica Du Plessis who represented the South African Schools team in Portugal recently as well as  Claudia Booysen and Lauran-Lee Christians who was selected for the Protea Netball Team which participated at the European Championships in Belfast Ireland in May.

Ladies and Gentleman

Before I conclude I would like to share a very inspirational passage which I read recently

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.

Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you." The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a seed today - one very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed.

He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.

By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by-still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach; it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful--in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified.
He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!" When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed- Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed. "How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.
Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today.

But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers.
When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"

If you plant honesty, you will reap trust, If you plant goodness, you will reap friends If you plant humility, you will reap greatness If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation If you plant faith in God, you will reap a harvest.

Honesty and hard work pays off, despite that fact that you might not be seeing immediate success. Be yourself, work hard at your game and do not fall into the trap of taking illegal supplements and enhancements to boost yourself.

Honesty is the best policy, and of course , behind every successful man is a woman.

And so ladies and gentlemen, as we celebrate youth month- let us be mindful of the strides we have made and the opportunities at your disposal.

Competition will be tough, but that’s how it is meant to be.

Good luck to the players and well done to all the coaches for getting your teams this far.

Remember, the ball is in your court!

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