READER LETTER | Kodwa's self-praise does not reflect true state of sport
Almost daily we hear the department of sports, arts and culture self-praising advert on radio stations. The department under minister Zizi Kodwa claims to be inspiring a winning nation.
But the crime stats, unemployment rate, school dropout numbers, road accidents deaths and reports on corruption within the government doesn’t paint the story of a winning nation. Bonnie Blair writes: “Winning doesn’t not always mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve done before. Are there any new initiatives DSAC is planning to do better than before besides funding events and unsustainable arts projects.”
Such self-praising declaration by the department is a fallacy looking at the state of sport and the creative sector in the country. The impressive white elephant's soccer stadiums do not make formidable clubs or athletes. But an endorsed comprehensive long-term plan, be it for sports or the creative sector, will yield a winning nation.
Maybe the department’s claim is simply an opportunistic expensive PR exercise to ride on the recent Springbok World Cup win wave. Truth be told, the Springboks’ performance at Rugby World Cup was never inspired by the department.
The Springboks glorious win was due to the collective effort of players, coaching personnel, medical team, family members, sponsors, and so on. It's the desire of an individual athlete in various sports codes to be the world’s best. Surely, the sport federations under the ministry of DSAC do play an important role in the country’s sport activities. But credit should go to most athletes who without any sustainable financial support sacrificed their hard-earned money to keep them in the game.
Back then when Tsotsi film won an Oscar award in 2006, the department was in the forefront to appear to be spearheading the film industry’s success story.
Right now, the throbbing conditions of most arts veterans has reached the lowest level, which is an indication that the department is not winning. If there are any new initiatives to aid the creative sector, why can’t they be shared with the industry?
It should be noted that, the artists’ resilience to keep their heads above the water is propelled by their passion for the arts and not inspired by the department. The multitudes of runners who participate in various athletic events are inspired by their dreams, love of good health and sport.
The children in rural areas who never heard of the minister of sports but play soccer under the scorching sun on sand soccer fields with makeshift poles are more inspired by yesteryears and current players than the department. A winning nation is inspired by visionary leadership, quality values, high moral standards, citizen safety, work ethics, an active economy, world-class health infrastructure, and caring leaders, among others. – Jerry Tsie, Pretoria
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