EC’s 20-year twinning ties with German state
THE Eastern Cape department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture celebrated their 20-year-old partnership with the state of Lower Saxony, Germany on October 21.
The programme, which was initiated in 1995, started off with the Eastern Cape welcoming sport mentors from Germany to help improve sports in schools around the province. Today, the Eastern Cape has 32 Germans spread out across the region working as coaches, athletes, technical officers and administrators.
As a result of this programme, Handball is being developed in schools around the province at an introductory level.
“This 20-year twinning goes far beyond sports because sport is one of the catalysts for nation building. In many cases it is an expression of solidarity,” said the Eastern Cape MEC of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Dr Pemmy Majodina.
“Lower Saxony, Germany took an in- credible risk by making the commitment to South Africa when we had only been one year into freedom. They had no way to be certain what type of government we had but we appreciate that they took that leap of faith,” she added.
The MEC highlighted the much-debated transformation in sports, saying that the mandate of the department was social cohesion and nation building, and that if school sports was not developed then transformation would not go forward.
In the year 2013, the South African Department of Sports and Recreation sent sports mentors of their own to Germany, to stay for a year and volunteer there as coaches.
This is referred to as the Reverse Volunteer Programme and has helped expose South African athletes to German children and vice versa.
“What started out as a programme has turned into a friendship and we are eager to continue the partnership,” coordinator of sports projects Dr Angela Daalman said.
INTERNATIONAL TIES: MEC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture Dr Pemmy Majodina exchanges gifts with Prof Dr WolfRüdiger Umbach who was the head of the German delegation. Umbach also happens to be the president of the LandeSportBund