Giving Kids a Sporting Chance
Last Friday, we were so excited to join Cape Town photographer Samir Abdul in Khayelitsha at Sporting Chance’s Street Sports tournament. Samir volunteered his time to promote this project’s mission through photography.
– text by Juliana Connors, images by Samir Abdul
ABOUT SPORTING CHANCE
Sporting Chance, in collaboration with the Happy Africa Foundation, provides physical and health education to children across South Africa, and employs local coaches to lead students within their communities. In Cape Town, Sporting Chance operates in Khayelitsha, Langa and Masiphumelele, three of the main township areas. Sporting Chance advocates the importance of physical activity and education, recognizing the complimentary aspect to traditional subjects. Physical education allows the students to be in the right headspace for their traditional subjects, as well as encouraging and fostering healthy living. Throughout the week, students receive physical education classes where fitness is measured. Beyond the day to day physical education, Sporting Chance offers sporting clinics, school holiday clinics and ‘Healthy, Happy, Learning’ workshops, providing health and nutrition education. The Happy Africa Foundation, a Cape Town based non-profit, supports this initiative through fundraising and by supplying volunteers on the ground.
Street Sports Tournament
From October to December, Sporting Chance is running a 7-week street sports tournament within the three communities. Every Friday, after school, the communities run street cricket and street soccer, working through the bracket. I arrived as the day’s tournament had just begun; the soccer games were underway, and the cricket matches were still being organized. Local police had the street cordoned off in front of Sakumlandela Primary, as the “field” for the day’s tournament. Volunteers were keeping the tournament running smoothly, while the coaches were busy with the students, intently focused on the action and actively coaching.
The tournament attracted quite a crowd; a sea of maroon uniforms filed along the street to spectate upon the conclusion of the school day at Sakumlandela Primary. Local friends and family members were in attendance, as well. In speaking with a local father, it is clear how appreciative the community is of the work Sporting Chance has done and how hopeful they are to see the program continue for years to come. I grew up in the States, where physical education is part of the curriculum. Primary school students must meet certain standards for fitness, an initiative I had taken for granted. Seeing these South African communities so motivated and enthusiastic to have a physical education program for their children, shed a new light on the importance of physical education as part of a child’s schooling.