The recent state visit to South Africa by King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium highlighted a successful corporate social responsibility project in the Philippi Village hub of Cape Town. One of the key sponsors of the project was Air Belgium, which is committed to improving the communities it serves. The project involved the renovation of a soccer pitch that had been in a state of disrepair for years. Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Belgian business community in South Africa, the rise was wholly revamped, including the provision of soccer kits and equipment.
The Philippi community has significantly benefited from the renovation. The pitch will provide a much-needed facility for the 32 football clubs affiliated with the South African Football Association in the area. Emmanuel Menu, CCO of Air Belgium, expressed his delight at the project: “The soccer pitch in Philippi illustrates our commitment to corporate social responsibility and our dedication to improving the communities we serve.”
The Belgian consulate and chamber have a history of assisting Philippi Village in various projects, including vocational training, street art, and digital inclusion. The revitalized soccer pitch will be a safe space for children to play and develop their soccer skills. Ntsikelelo Qinga, community liaison at Philippi Village, believes that soccer has the power to engage, inspire and uplift, making it one of the great connectors.
The Belgian supporters of the Philippi project, which include Lotus, La Chouffe, Close the Gap RSA, Jan De Null, OpenSyndicate, Daikin, Callebaut, Manuchar, and Den Anker, hired South African/Belgian social business Baz-Art to make artwork for the pitch. Working with the well-known urban artist Wayne Bks, Baz-Art turned the container sports hub into a colorful setting for the rise. The painting shows how easy and fun it is to play soccer and how it can bring people together no matter what age, gender, or country they come from.
Air Belgium, which only started flying to South Africa for the first time in September 2022, has promised that the Philippi soccer pitch is the first of many projects it hopes to support in South Africa. The project’s success demonstrates the positive impact that corporate social responsibility can have on communities, highlighting how businesses can make a difference in people’s lives.