Opinion Piece by Puleng Mmotla
The passing of Bapedi King Thulare III earlier this month takes us back to 2017 when His Majesty King Thulare Victor Thulare III joined the former President of Limpopo Sports Confederation Mr Eric Muneri and the then Chairperson of Sekhukhune Sports Confederation Mr Mandla Tjia at Thaba Moshate Casino Resort in Burgersfort. The trio were speakers during the inaugural Africa-Asia-Middel East Sport and Trade Convention organised under the aegis of TUPS Sport Federation. This was part of the celebration of Freedom Day on 27 April 2017.
In the audience of about 200 people there were foreign spaza shop owners, traders and business people from countries of Africa-Asia and Middel-East who were actively trading in Sekhukhune District, Limpopo. The convention was organised to encourage them to give back to the community by adopting a sport club or a sport activity in the community where they were trading.
As the keynote speaker of the convention King Thulare III called upon foreign nationals operating in his Kingdom to seriously embrace social cohesion through sport as the main vehicle. He said foreign nationals had more to lose if locals are not happy, unhealthy and the local economy was not sustainable. He also encouraged foreign nationals to use their spare time to share skills and exchange ideas with locals on the development of sport. This was successfully expressed through participation of Pakistani business men from Groblersdal and Burgersfort in the Cricket coaching clinics in which local youth benefited from the experience.
King Thulare III had a constructive approach in his engagements, and was a fearless yet noble figure in spirit and posture. He was committed to championing the economic development of his people, particularly youth and women. In the interest of promoting the culture of Bapedi nation, His Majesty endorsed sports development framework for Bapedi Kingdom, where he adopted an indigenous sport invented in his kingdom – Tups Sport. TUPS Sport Federation will remember King Thulare Victor Thulare III for dedicating the 2017 Freedom Day to interact and engage with foreign nationals from countries of Africa, Asia and Middle-East that are trading in the villages of Limpopo to explore support for grassroots sport development; share retail trade skills and opportunities; and exchange cultural and sporting experiences.
The participation of King Thulare III at the convention provided an event medium that facilitated information dissemination and a seamless point-of-contact through which different communities of foreign nationals have been reached. The event also optimised awareness of government and civil society initiatives and efforts on social cohesion (underlined by the theme: “a better Africa and a better world”) in a manner that is impactful and reach wider audiences with little investment.
King Thulare III was the pioneer of a futuristic solution that motivates the communities to be active participants; and active in all aspects of sport and trade in order to create opportunities. In deed King Thulare III was a visionary, he understood the need for communities to be active participants and pursue their own development through sport and trade, and encouraged communities to drive their development from grassroots to highest levels of decision-making in sport through engaging foreign nationals in basic support of sport in the communities where they are trading.