Following the increase in gender-based violence making headlines throughout the country, Umzuvukile Sport Development hosted a women’s celebrations rugby day in Mdantsane today.
In light of Women’s Month the Premier of the Eastern Cape attended the event hosted for about 900 young girls from 25 junior schools and four high schools in the area.
Masualle said empowering women at a young age was important to ensure that violence against women can stop.
Speaking to the Daily Dispatch, he attributed sport as a fundamental skill in achieving this narrative and developing a culture of protecting women.
“I find this very encouraging, sports development is a critical element of social mobilisation and social cohesion.
“Today especially looking at young girls and rugby, it is something we are seeing emerge among women which is a good thing.
“It needs to be supported and I will see to it that we continue to support this but of course other departments need to come on board as well. We must find a nurtured way to hone in on these young girls talents,” Masualle said.
While the event focuses on teaching a non-violent culture against women in Mdantsane, Umzuvukile Sport Development director Mzuvukile Tempi said they are hoping to roll the programme out into the greater region as well.
“We need to work together to provide support to women, children and men affected by sexual violence. We need to create a counter-culture in which the dignity of each person is seen and honoured.”
The girls aged between seven and 10 were dressed in their rugby jerseys and shorts enjoyed playing each other on two fields at the NU1 stadium.
One pupil from Nowonga Junior Primary School, Imange Ndima, 8, in Grade 3 said she was happy about being a part of the programme.
“I enjoy playing rugby and being here makes me very happy,” Imange said.
Zukisa Primary School rugby coach Vuyisa Mfazo, 36, said teaching young girls discipline is an important life skill.
“They develop ball skills and are able to apply basic skills like discipline which sport teaches you and prepare these girls for a life after school as well.”