The late international icon Nelson Mandela believed that: “Sport has the power to change the world… it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”

It was this sentiment that inspired JSE listed Workforce Holdings (“Workforce”) (JSE: staffingdayWKF) to partner with local boxing champion, Slow Poison to host a Sports Day at Nooitgedacht Primary School on Nelson Mandela Day.

Mandela Day is celebrated on 18 July every year – the birthday of the legendary late Madiba – a day when individuals and companies are encouraged to give back to those less fortunate than themselves for at least 67 minutes.

Slow Poison runs a skip-athon and box-athon programme at Nooitgedacht Primary School. He explained that the reason he decided to run a skipping programme came from the idea of developing a sport that children could learn easily, and practice cost effectively. It is also an inclusive sport, meaning that both boys and girls of any age can practice skipping.

“The benefits of exercise are amazing and school kids need to have access to these benefits for their health, personal and social well-being,” Slow Poison said.

This year, Workforce decided to sponsor healthy snack packs for the pupils involved in the programme in order to nourish their bodies, as well as stationery packs, so that pupils will have the practical tools they need to nourish their minds. The staff of Workforce were encouraged to get involved with the initiative by donating stationery and writing inspirational messages for the children involved in the sports day on their lunch packs.

Gcubed, a subsidiary of Workforce Holdings, sponsored pizzas for all the children involved in the skip-athon programme.

The healthy lunch packs, stationery packs and pizza were distributed to pupils involved in the skip-athon programme today while extra stationery was donated to Nooitgedacht Primary for the rest of their pupils.

Deputy Principal of the school, Vela Khumalo was extremely grateful for Workforce’s donation of food, stationery and staff hours at the sports day. “It’s a big thumbs-up for them from the whole school!” he said.

Interim CEO of Workforce, Mr Ronny Katz said: “Workforce is committed to identifying and supporting important causes like this – sports development is an integral part of youth development and Workforce is passionate about uplifting the youth and tackling unemployment in South Africa. It is important to give the youth the tools they need in order for them to thrive, both on the field and in the classroom. So this was a perfect fit for us.”

Slow Poison explained, “Tata Mandela’s first love was always supporting the new generation through education, peace and harmony. It is this that motivated me to develop this skipping programme for the kids. It is best done at school to add an element of playfulness to school days and improve school attendance.”

Workforce has recently entered into an agreement with Qunu Workforce, headed up by two of Nelson Mandela’s granddaughters, Swati Dlamini and Zaziwe Manaway.

Dlamini said, “My grandfather believed there was a strong link between sport and youth development as both were an integral part of our liberation, and together they unified us as a people. The Mandela Day initiative is about carrying my grandfather’s legacy forward and ensuring that we are all part of the solution to making our country a better place.”

In attendance today was Qunu Workforce’s Independent Living Ambassador, Tendai Khumalo, who enthusiastically participated in the skip-athon and aerobics programme to show the pupils of Nooitgedacht Primary that anything is possible and that good sports are always winners.

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