Indigenous games ‘must be preserved’

TEAMS from all districts and metros participated in the annual Provincial Indigenous Games at East London’s Police Park at the weekend.

Department of sports, recreation, arts and culture MEC, Bulelwa Tunyiswa, said in her opening address that preserving this irreplaceable heritage was in the public interest.

“They are a reminder of where we come from as the different peoples of South Africa. Many of these games cut across all our cultures and our people,” Tunyiswa said.

She said the aim of the games was to instill a sense of belonging to the people, while developing physical and mental development.

Nelson Mandela Bay team member, Babalwa Mpahlwa, said she started participating in the games in 2015.

“I love being active and I play netball when I’m not playing dibeke. I would like to be selected to play in the national games,” Mpahlwa said.

All the sporting codes that formed part of the games were agreed upon by all provinces – as well as all the rules.

Provincial games coordinator, Mboniso Feju, said almost 580 participants took part in the games this year.

“About 110 will be taken to nationals to represent us in all the codes. We came in fifth position last year and we’d love to be in the top three,” Feju said.

Experienced player from the Sarah Baartman district, Makhaya Maqanda, has been taking part in the games since 2008.

“It’s a different experience this year as there are new players. The competition is tough and everybody wants to go to the nationals,” Maqanda said.

The National Indigenous Games are set to take place in September, where all provinces will compete in Limpopo.

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