Kugara Hunzwana Peace club established by a community that works with Heal Zimbabwe in Gokwe South Ward 12, has utilized sports for peace tournaments to propagate message of peace and build social cohesion among the youths in Gokwe South.
On 25 June, 2016, the peace club organized a sports for peace tournament at Svisvi Primary school where 6 youth soccer teams from the ward and 4 netball teams participated in a peace cup. The teams that participated in soccer include Bhanya, Halfway Bullets, Set 4, Red Arrows, Misa Sports and Same Age boys while netball teams which participated were Svisvi Queens, Bhanya, Halfway Bullets and Set 4.
Earlier in the month of May, the peace club had carried out a conflict mapping of the area and noted that political violence particularly during elections was hampering prospects for peace and unity in the area. The peace club targeted the youth as they are usually used to spearhead political violence by politicians. To avert this, the peace club then decided to organize a peace tournament where they specifically targeted youth soccer teams from the area. The peace club managed to mobilize 400 community members for the soccer tournament.
Before kickoff of the soccer tournament, Kugara Hunzwana peace club chairperson Rangarirai Mupatsi addressed all teams and other members of the community and stressed the importance of peaceful co-existence and the need for tolerance among the youths as this is key for prevalence of peace in the area. “…This tournament is a milestone in our peace building efforts, I’m happy that all the teams in our ward came for this tournament. This tournament is symbolic in the sense that if we are united like this we can achieve real peace at all times…”, he said.
The soccer tournament saw Bhanya and Same age boys storming into the finals after a fierce competition which saw four other teams being eliminated through knock outs. Bhanya went on to win the coveted peace cup. Each team that participated received a soccer ball engraved with peace messages. Speaking after the tournament, Bhanya football club captain, Tichaona Bere welcomed the initiative by the peace club to target youths and encourage them to be peace champions in the area. “…Kugara Hunzwana peace club has played an important role in building peace in our area, its good they targeted the youths because youths play a key role in building peace too…”, he said. The netball tournament trophy was won by Svisvi Queens club which battled out with Halfway Bullets.
The sports for peace tournaments come against a background where the peace club has been carrying out various peace building activities in the area such as collaborative neutral platforms (nhimbes) in a bid to build social cohesion and peace. Other activities being carried out by the peace club to build peace in the area include Community dialogues and Women safe spaces for reconciliation.