On Friday, 21 April, the streets of eight Cape Town communities came alive with the launch of Sporting Chance Street Netball. Within the villages of Grassy Park, Elsies River, Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha, Langa, Mfuleni, Ocean View, and Nomzamo, the program’s goal is to teach 768 young girls under the age of 13 essential life skills. In addition, the program also features a component that teaches life skills. This effort is being carried out as a part of the Countdown to the Netball World Cup being hosted by the City of Cape Town, and it is going to reach its climax during the festival finale, which will take place at the same time as the 2023 Vitality Netball World Cup. (VNWC).
The Power of Street Netball
Brad Bing, the managing director of Sporting Chance, believes that the street is the optimal venue for children to engage in positive and healthy activities. He explains that “programs like Street Netball turn the streets into a stage where life lessons can be taught, friendships forged, and communities entertained.” Bing views this program as an opportunity for the communities to remove the streets from social ills and for the children to learn critical life skills such as physical health and active lifestyles.
Empowerment through Life Skills
Sporting Chance’s Street Netball initiative is not solely focused on playing netball but includes a life skills program running concurrently for eight weeks across the eight Cape communities. Emthonjeni Counselling and Training is one of the supporting partners and will be working with the girls to provide them with essential life skills and empowerment knowledge to help them plan for their futures. Bing says that “being healthy and keeping active are critical life skills taught by the program and are necessary to keep building a healthy South Africa.”
Through this program, 16 teams of six players will compete in an adapted 5-a-side version of the sport every week for eight weeks. This will be followed by the regional finals on Friday, 16 June, culminating in the festival finale, coinciding with the 2023 Vitality Netball World Cup. Bing hopes this event will leave a lasting legacy by demonstrating that dreams can come true, even for the most humble South Africans. This is the time to carry the excitement generated by a world sporting event hosted in South Africa to a grassroots level.