Pretoria- Sport has the ability to bridge the cultural divide and is an instrument of peace and social cohesion, President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.
“This is the formidable power of sport it bridges both the international and cultural divide it has also shown itself to be an important instrument of peace and social cohesion,” said President Zuma.
The President was speaking at the opening of the IKO Matsushima Karate World Cup in Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal.
The tournament is being held under three themes namely: self-defence, self-discipline and crime prevention.
“The three themes encapsulate the importance of karate as a sporting code. Like any other sport, karate contributes to health and physical wellness and prevents many lifestyle diseases among people,” explained the President.
It also has the ability to take children off the streets, enhances their physical and mental fitness, and provides them with important life and survival skills.
“It can also be a very useful tool or instrument for preventing the youth from taking drugs and other forms of delinquency,” he said.
President Zuma said the Karate sporting code teaches self-discipline and emotional intelligence, principles which are key handling the challenging situations that confront them daily.
It also empowers people to prevent crime.
“I believe that this tournament is also in a way a fitting tribute to the late Great Shihan Sabela and Branch Chief Khanyisani Mazibuko for all their efforts in bringing the IKO World Cup to South Africa.”
Sabela, from Inanda, made an enormous contribution to karate over the years having started training in the early 1970s and becoming one of the best in the sport internationally. He also established karate schools.
“It is proper therefore that we remember him on this occasion, as one of our national and international heroes in this sporting code,” said the President.
The tournament – which is the first Karate World Cup to be hosted on the African continent – is taking place at a time when South Africa is commemorating Tourism Month in September.
“It gives us a great pride to be able to once more showcase our ability as a country to host major international events,” said President Zuma.
He added that the tournament had attracted a significant number of people to the coastal city.
Source : SAnews.gov.za