As of February 25 to March 5, Gauteng will be abuzz with people from different ethnic African groups uniting together to embrace unity.
This follows the pre-launching of the Social Cohesion Games that will feature diverse soccer teams playing against each other in various parts of the province.
The games are organised by Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Mmako Group as well as Hellenic Italian Portuguese (HIP) Alliance.
The objective of the games, according to the organisers, is to foster good relations between South Africans and non-South African communities.
There will be teams from Nigeria, DRC, Botswana, Lesotho and Ghana and many more as well as China that are expected to take part in this two-weeks-long soccer tournament.
According to Kennedy Makara, an organiser, the teams will feature soccer legends and amateurs from various countries.
He said the Social Cohesion Games are an initiative of Premier Makhura and they come amid the recent incidents of violence in Rosettenville and those of the xenophobic attacks in 2008.
“So, through these games we intend to unite Africans and set a footprint in fighting racism as well as xenophobia in our communities. These games also talks about a lot of things considering our past as South Africans, how apartheid blemished our nation and how we had to seek assist from other African countries for us defeat the then emperors,” said Makara.
The Social Cohesion Games soccer tournament is a pilot project initiated by Premier Makhura and it’s expected to be played annually during this time of the year.
There will be soccer legends including the likes of William Okpara, Roger Fumba, Kalusha Biyala, Timothy Bathabire and Doctor Khumalo among them.
“Also, we are expecting the likes of TV sport journalists like Walter Mokoena and David Kekana to embrace the games with their skills on the pitch. We are also expecting the former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe and other high profile officials from different embassies of the countries to join us throughout the tournament,” said Makara.
They will be giving speeches and motivational talks about unity and diversity and how important it is for all of us to work together and build this continent.
Meanwhile, the games will kick-off simultaneously on February 25 in nine different venues across the Gauteng province and Makara said the finals will be played in Soweto on March 5 at the Nike Stadium in Pimville and everyone is invited.