The legacy of former president Nelson Mandela will never die, thanks to initiatives such as Nelson Mandela Day, Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula has said.
“As we continue to soldier on to celebrate his legacy, these are the things he lives for, like the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital,” Mbalula said at the launch of the initiative in Joburg today.
“He did not do those things for himself, he did them to make a difference for others and that is what we must carry on as a people.”
Nelson Mandela Day, a brainchild of the sport and recreation department, will see the Springboks and Bafana Bafana playing respective international matches against Argentina and Burkina Faso at FNB Stadium on August 17.
Mbalula revealed that the proceeds from the day, which would also include a music concert after the Springbok match, would go towards the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.
Tickets went on sale today and would cost between R220 and R2 500.
The curtain raiser match would be played between Italian and South African masters’ football teams.
SA Rugby Union (Saru) president Oregan Hoskins praised Mbalula’s efforts to honour Mandela.
While it was a difficult decision for the Free State Rugby Union to sacrifice the Boks’ rugby championship match, which they were scheduled to host in Bloemfontein, it was for the greater good.
“The rewards far outweigh the sacrifices because we are doing something for someone who saved our sport and saved our society,” Hoskins said.
“We can actually do so much more than play on August 17 at FNB Stadium.”
Bafana coach Gordon Igesund said he would never have thought that an international rugby and soccer derby would be played on the same day at the same venue.
“One must not forget the reason why we are doing it. We are celebrating Nelson Mandela, who is not well at the moment,” Igesund said.
“Our prayers are with him and it is a great occasion.”
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