27 June 2012
It was a cool morning when local school soccer teams took to the field to commemorate World Refugee Day, which took place the previous day on Wednesday 20 June 2012.
Kwamfundo, Maitland, Vuyiseka, Sinethemba and Phandulwazi High Schools competed in 40 minute matches against each other. First to play in front of a large crowd were Kwamfundo against the 1st team from Maitland. They took victory against the Maitland team 2-0. Next to play were Vuyiseka and Sinethemba High Schools. The game went to a nail-biting penalty shootout which saw Sinethemba taking it 4-3. The third match between Maitland High School’s 2nd Team and Phandulwazi High School saw Maitland beaten 2-1. Phandulwazi and Kwamfundo then played for a chance to play in the final against Sinethemba and the passionate young men from Phandulwazi slid home to victory with 2 goals to none. The final was the match that everyone had been waiting for, Sinethemba versus Phundulwazi. This match saw Sinethemba clinching a 1-0 victory in front of an excited home crowd.
The award giving ceremony saw the victors taking home a huge trophy donated by United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) and some sports equipment donated by the International Olympic Committee and Samsung. The sports equipment was also given to all participating teams. This included soccer balls, basket balls, t-shirts and caps, volleyball nets and team bibs amongst other equipment.
“We are glad we have this event as it motivates the children of the community and we welcome refugees as our brothers” said Xhelo Morris, a member of South African National Civic Organization (SANCO).
Patrick Kawuma Male, UNHCR Head of Office in Cape Town, said that the event was hosted for the community and that “this event is a thank you to the community for hosting refugees and for giving them the opportunity to lead a normal life.”
The event event was hosted by the Agency for Refugee Education Skills Training Advocacy (ARESTA). Sonke Gender Justice Network also helped organise it and had significant members of the community attend and offer their support. Members could be seen wearing t-shirts from the UNHCR bearing the slogans, “1 refugee without hope is too many” and “We are all different, We are all equal, Ubuntu has no borders.” Also in attendance was Shadrack Nenzani, councilor for subcouncil 23, which includes Philippi. He said that he appreciated that ARESTA and Sonke Gender Justice Network had selected Philippi to host their event as it highlighted the poverty in the area. The crowd was kept entertained by a local DJ.