Former Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana left sided midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala who is currently clubless has been roped in as ambassador to teach young kids and the youth moral values and respect as part of a broader initiative to stamp out gender based violence.
The initiative is headed by Premier Soccer League sponsors Absa who seek to use the world’s most beautiful and famous sport as a force for good and for change for the better.
Football has been identified as having a huge role to play in raising awareness around key societal challenges such as gender-based violence and critical to changing societal perceptions and attitudes aimed at tackling the on-going epidemic in South Africa which has seen many women killed or sexually abused just for being women.
Absa has launched the #StoptoStart initiative as a commitment to be an active part of the solution in the fight against gender-based violence.
Through the sponsorship of the Absa Premiership, the bank seeks to ensure that young South Africans, particularly boys, will receive the basic building blocks they need to be the positive change in their communities as well as equip them with a sense of self-worth, honour and the belief that violence is never the solution.
The initiative will see positive male role models – including former Absa Premiership players such as Teko Modise, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Brilliant Khuzwayo and Phumudzo Manenzhe provide support through interactive workshops and football-themed activations to more than 800 teenage boys, aged 15-17, from four schools in four provinces during the month of December.
The workshops are a critical way to start engaging with the country’s young men in a positive and inspiring way.
“We considered the current social issues as well as the challenges facing young people in communities where there are limited opportunities for fun and informative engagements during the holiday period. We looked at the partners, platforms that we have access to as Absa, and this platform was born out of this,” says David Wingfield, Managing Executive Branding & Marketing, Absa Group Limited.
“Through a creative and audacious combination of fun with purpose, leveraging our sponsorship and citizenship partners, we are setting out to positively impact these young teenage boys. Through the use of our unique Africanacity concept, we will help shape the future men of South Africa and truly bring their potential and possibilities to life,” concludes Wingfield.
Teko Modise who this year hung up his boots having played for Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City will be joining the boys in Soweto on Tuesday, 3 December and in Cape Town on 10 December.
“What I remember about growing up is just being a kid with no ambition, with so much fear, simply because everybody that was around us wasn’t successful at all. As a former professional footballer, I’m excited to get involved in this initiative where I can inspire, empower and impact young boys from the similar backgrounds. It’s an opportunity I never got when I was at their age.” said former midfield general Modise.
By Gerald Dandah