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01 July 2021 | Story Dikgapane Makhetha | Photo Supplied

This year, the young people of South Africa celebrated 45 years of the annual commemoration of Youth Day. The University of the Free State (UFS) Community Engagement (CE) office on the Qwaqwa Campus has engaged a number of stakeholders in the call to use football as a means of bringing people together, transforming lives, and enthusing communities. Through partnerships, community organisations have great potential to create opportunities for breaking down barriers and inspiring social cohesion, initiating enablement through the development of social projects, and promoting education and health awareness. 

On 16 June this year, local community organisations collaborated in the hosting of a soccer event for the youth of Qwaqwa at the FIFA Football for Hope Stadium in Tsheseng. The Agape Foundation for Community Development, Love Life, Right to Care, Youth in Action, Qwaqwa FIFA Project, and the Tsheseng Athletics Club were all stakeholders who diligently joined forces to ensure the successful launch of the tournament. Community development practitioners, who are trainees in the UFS Qwaqwa Department of Community Development, were garbed in departmental branded gear and have cautiously facilitated adherence to COVID-19 protocols.  About 250 people, including football fans and participants, attended and enjoyed the entertaining games. Through the partnered recreational project, the Qwaqwa Campus CE office responded to the 2021 Youth Day theme: ‘Growing Youth Employment for an inclusive and transformed society’, by enhancing opportunities for networking among stakeholders. Football is popularly known for promoting transformational social projects in diverse communities across the globe.

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