Sport and Recreation South Africa,Cricket South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation will launch the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations at the upcoming International T20 Double Header featuring the South African Women’s Cricket Team and the South Africa men’s Cricket teams, the Proteas, playing against their Indian counterparts.
The Centenary Celebration programme aims to honour the values and legacy of Former President Nelson Mandela. The double header will be played at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on 18 February 2018. The matches will also serve as a celebration of 20 years of diplomatic relations between India and SA.
As a further significance, the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations, also coincides with the 125 anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi when he was thrown off a train at the Pietmaritzburg Railway station after he refused to move from a whites’ only compartment.
In this 100th year celebrations of the values and legacy in sport left by Nelson Mandela, the hosting of India during this 125th anniversary serves as a poignant reminder of Mandela’s values depicted through the unwavering style of leadership which has led many to regard him as a modern Gandhi. Attesting to this style of leadership, when Mandela was conferred at The International Gandhi Peace Prize in 1991, Former President Shri K.R. Narayanan of India once stated, "We are paying tribute to an unusual hero in the Gandhian mould, who personifies the triumph of the human spirit over forces of oppression."
India was the first country to introduce sanctions against the apartheid regime. It was also the first team to tour South Africa in 1992, after South Africa was re-admitted into international cricket after the end of the Apartheid era. The significance behind this celebration in also complimenting the Nelson Mandela centenary cannot go unnoticed.The historical relations between Nelson Mandela and India highlight the extent within which India continued to be of huge support to Nelson Mandela during apartheid as well as during his presidency. This inspiring bond was such that Mandela has often heralded India as “deserving a place among the closest allies whose contribution to the abolishment of Apartheid and the making of SA was undeniable as well as immeasurable.”
The Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations emphatically promotes the values of Mandela by encouraging citizens to “Be the Legacy” which Nelson Mandela believed and epitomized in changing the world.
The legacy in sport left by Mandela is unequivocal as no one understood the power of sport to provide dignity and hope in the face of state-sponsored oppression than Madiba. Affirming the invaluable role of Nelson Mandela in unifying SA, Minister of Sport and Recreation, Thulas Nxesi highlighted that: “Nelson Mandela became a strong advocate of sports diplomacy in raising South Africa’s reputation and transforming the perception of South Africa from an apartheid state to a democratic nation. The spirit of Madibaness - the Madiba Magic Moment personified through our sports stars’ excellent performance whilst also uniting our country along the way - is a remarkable feature in the history of our sporting achievements. It is in fact these Madiba Magic Moments which we regard as a legacy left to the sporting fraternity. After all the nation continues to unite patriotically when an athlete delivers this Madiba Magic Moment.”
The program for the day will see the Momentum Proteas Women team take on India in a T20 clash in the morning, followed by a short ceremonial program highlighting the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations. This will be followed by the KFC T20 International match between the Standard Bank Proteas and India in the afternoon.