JOHANNESBURG-OVER the past two decades, the country has experienced huge changes in its social, economic and political structures and systems.
The levers of division have been challenged legally while systems and programmes were set up to redress past imbalances and address growth and development.
However, amid the change some gaps have remained.
Despite professionalism bringing opportunities for talented sportspersons to grow their careers it has also affected the development of grassroots sports and opportunities for mass participation.
Among the gaps that arose include full coverage of the contributions of organisations, associations, clubs, players, officials, sponsors, supporters, communities and families who were involved in resisting Apartheid sport and building forms of sport organisation that were community centered, voluntarist and excellence-based.
Some welcome schemes have been initiated aiming to uncover histories of these communities, with the Non-Racial Sports History Project Gauteng (NRSHPG) taking the lead.
NRSHPG focuses on covering the history for women who have contributed to non-racial sports and host an event to recognise this work in September as part of the 60th anniversary of the Womens March to the Union Buildings.
Started in June last year, it aims to conduct research on the state of sport in previously marginalized areas and honour deserving sportspersons.
Michael Khan, NRSHPG General Secretary, is encouraged by progress made over the past year.
“In our view, the history project has over the past period made important strides in creating an awareness of its modest activities, has generated considerable interests among the former non-racial sports communities/codes and has established a reasonably well-functioning structure,” he says.
During the period, adopted a constitution and elected a ten-member committee.
A memorandum of understanding has been signed with the Wits University Archives Department. Some 90 items have so far been deposited into the Wits Archives so far.
There is also a working agreement with the Wits Local History Project and a partnership with the Bosmont Local Football Association as well as a discussion with the Department of Sports and Recreation to collaborate on some projects.
The project committee has held promotional meetings in Azaadville, Benoni, Bosmont, Laudium and Lenasia.
A successful fund raising and promotional dinner has recently been held and exhibition material produced and displayed at various venues across Gauteng.
Khan says they are now in a position to proceed to the next phase of the project, namely, to systematically collect, record and publish histories of non-racial sports.
“In our view, this is a long-term project that will depend on community involvement. However, we wish to place the project on a firm footing by delivering quality histories over the next two to three years.”
– Gauteng Sport