As part of commemorating the Day of the African Child, Heal Zimbabwe working together with Dambo Sports Academy in Mazowe South constituency hosted a Sports for Peace Gala at Kanyemba Secondary School. The Event was attended by local Member of Parliament (MP) for the area Honourable Advocate Fortune Chasi who was the guest of honour. This years’ commemorations are being held under the theme “Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all Children’s rights” The theme is in line with efforts to elevate the child protection agenda in conflict situation in Africa as well as guarantee the protection and preservation of life and well-being of the African children.
Dambo Sports Academy, a Community Based Organization (CBO) that works with Heal Zimbabwe and its men’s football and netball teams organized a soccer tournament in commemoration of the June 16 day. The tournament was part of its initiative of building a conflict-free constituency through use of sport as a tool to propagate peace and encourage peaceful co-existence in local communities. The CBO invited 5 teams from 5 Peace clubs working with Heal Zimbabwe in Mazowe district. The 5 participating teams were Dambo Rovers (Ward 13),Thrillers(ward 14),Rosa Chelsea(ward 9),Chambi Chambi(ward 1) and Gweshe (ward 17).There were also netball teams namely Rosa(ward 9),Kanyemba(ward 13) and Dambo Queens(ward 17),Kakora (ward 13) and Gato(ward 14).
In officially opening the tourney, Hon Chasi highlighted the importance of a peaceful society and hailed Heal Zimbabwe for coming up with an initiative that seeks to build peace in his constituency. “This sports tournament is good in that it brings the community together and helps build better relations in the community, this helps minimize violence, he said. Hon Chasi also commended the community for remaining united and peaceful particularly during the 2013 general elections.
The tournament was also graced by accomplished soccer Legend, Alois Bunjira who officiated in the tournament draw. The men’s football final saw Dambo Rovers and Thrillers FC battling it out for the prestigious Heal Zimbabwe Community Peace Cup. In netball Dambo Queens and Kanyemba stormed into the final after a fierce contest which saw favourites Kanyemba being knocked out early in the competition. After the match, Dambo Rovers captain Joe Maravanyika hailed the importance of such a tournament in building better relations among community members. “To us this tournament symbolizes peace, it helps us better relations and this goes a long way in preventing and minimizing violence, he said.
Zimbabwe Executive Director, Rashid Mahiya who attended the event echoed Maravanyika’s sentiments and acknowledged the unifying factor that sport has in communities and how sport can be used as a tool to “kick out” violence in local communities. “Sport plays a unifying role in bringing people of diverse political, social, religious orientations together, young people I urge you to use sport as a tool to “kick out” violence in your area, peace begins with all of us, he said.
Similar sports for peace tournaments will be held in other communities working with Heal Zimbabwe as the organisation seek to promote a Culture of Peace and end violent conflict in target communities.