Swartwater residents came out in numbers last Thursday for the first-ever Heritage Day commemoration event for fallen local sporting heroes.
The event, organised by the Swartwater Development Forum, was to honour sporting icons who impacted the community while also aiming to encourage local youth to get active.
The event started at the Egcibhala Village community hall where speakers, including the Emalahleni Local Municipality mayor, Nontombizanele Koni, spoke to the crowd. Koni also handed out certificates to 95 families of the deceased who were being honoured.
After that, it was off to the fields where eight soccer and seven netball teams were the main attraction. The teams played single-ound elimination in both codes with the first round of matches decided by random draw.
Fans were disappointed at the soccer side of proceedings after the day ended before the final could be concluded. The netball saved the day with fans enthralled by a thrilling final between Mabatshe and Dumdum. Dumdum was the victor, taking it 12-17.
Dumdum coach Lungiswa Juwele said they were happy at becoming the inaugural champions. “The girls are very happy about the kit we won. That motivated them to work hard for this event,” she said.
Swartwater Development Forum member Zanaxolo Qali said lack of opportunities and inactivity had driven local youth to crime and drug abuse and they believed this could be combated through sport.
“The day was about honouring those who had passed on, having had a positive impact on our community through sport. We wanted to honour them and encourage the youth to follow in their footsteps.
“As we all know sport is something that can be used to create social cohesion. There are many youths who have fallen into gangsterism and other social ills because there are no other positive avenues for them to explore,” said Qali.