NW Dragons & NWC Celebrate 13th Year anniversary of Nelson Mandela international day with Thakaneng – “A place where boys stay together” (Tswana).

POTCHEFSTROOM, IKAGENG: North West Dragons and North West Cricket celebrated the annual Nelson Mandela International Day with Thakaneng Project based in Ikageng, Potchefstroom. The month of July is one that brings the entire world together to celebrate the life of an internationally recognised icon, and former statesman of the Democratic Republic of South Africa – Nelson Mandela.

It was important that North West Cricket and NW Dragons in partnership with Stepmar Sunset Catering to commemorate Nelson Mandela Day by providing Soup, bread-rolls and 100 beanies to the staff, volunteers and kids at Thakaneng Project. After serving the volunteers, staff, and kids with a warm bowl of soup. It was time to get active with cricket coaching and playing cricket. The NW Dragons and NWC Staff conducted coaching and playing matches with the boys, volunteers, and staff of Thakaneng. What made the day extra special is that one of the boy’s namely, Anele Sekobe is turning 6 years old and shares his birthday with the Tata Madiba and was wished a blessed new year by NW Dragons and NWC.

“First thing first, the people that actually run these centers are incredible, they are saints on earth, and we need to take our hats off to them. I think for the players and for us in a privileged position is very humbling to come down and actually see what people and kids go through. For us is a great experience to be here, you can see as well what it meant to the kids. It gives us the motivation to do more, obviously we are honouring the great man Tata Madiba today and the legacy that he left.

“We can only try to emulate as much of that as we can, so hopefully this partnership and relationship can grow from strength to strength. We would love to see all these faces at JB Marks Oval, we saw a few balls getting hit today. It might not be long before we see one or two of them on the playing field, that is what it is about and would be great to see and open-up opportunities to come from a previously disadvantaged background to make it to a professional set up,” said Nicky van den Bergh (NW Dragons – Captain)

“It means a lot for us as the NW Dragons to be at Thakaneng Project. if we can inspire and grow the game of cricket in all townships and areas in South Africa. It is one of our responsibilities as professional cricket is to obviously add to the game of cricket, so it means a lot to see a smile on their faces. I mentioned earlier that we as the NW Dragons are not just here for Mandela Day. It is a relationship that we want to build going forward, it is something that we really want to take on and help where we can, just standing here looking at the facility here. there’s a lot of work that we can help with cutting grass and painting. Definitely in the near future you will see us back at Thakaneng project.” Said Craig Alexander – (NW Dragons – Head Coach).

“You know from Thakaneng staff and kids, we are so happy and excited to see the NW Dragons visit and spend time with the kids on Nelson Mandela Day. The kids are so excited and happy to have spent time with the NW Dragons and learning about cricket. We are looking forward to a great partnership with the NW Dragons and North West Cricket.”- said Mr. Meshack Seemelo (Thakaneng Project Manager).

“It means a lot for these kids, that our NW Dragons team is here for them to see that the sky is the limit and it’s not about the background of where you come from, the colour of your skin. Anything is possible with a dream and direction. Seeing the NW Dragons, shows them a light for direction in life. If we can give a child an opportunity to access facilities and the game of cricket, anything is possible.
From now on the kids of Thakaneng Project will join the Ikageng Hub program, they will have opportunity to access the game of cricket to receive coaching and have access to our cricket system. We will be inviting them to the cricket matches scheduled at JB Marks Oval in the month of October for the CSA T20 competition, so that they can get to experience professional cricket.” – said Mr. Tebogo Motlhabane (NWC – President).

NWC provided Thakaneng Project with KFC Mini Cricket equipment (4 sets of cricket equipment) as part of introducing the sport of cricket to the kids and the project.

About Us: Thakaneng – “A place where boys stay together” (Tswana)

And this is what Thakaneng Project, located in Potchefstroom, North-West, South Africa, is about. It is a shelter for 60 boys between the age of 7 – 18, where boys are staying together. A temporary home for victims of poverty, neglection, drug abuse, violence, sexual abuse, and many other circumstances, which made them to leave their homes.

Different than other children-homes and shelters in the greater Potchefstroom area, the children are not placed in the shelter by court order. The children are not forced to stay at the shelter and to cooperate with it. Only a trustworthy relationship can keep them at the shelter, which the staff members of the project built during years.

We, the staff members, and supporters of the Thakaneng Project, try to improve the situation of children in the Greater Potchefstroom Area by doing prevention and intervention work with children at risk and their families: Enabling them to begin the walk towards becoming responsible, meaningful citizens of society by means of an intercepting and transitional program.

HISTORY OF NELSON MANDELA INTERNATIONAL DAY

Nelson Mandela International Day, also known as Mandela Day, is an international observance in honor of the revolutionary Nelson Mandela, celebrated annually on his birthday, on July 18. The day was officially set by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first observance of Mandela Day held on July 18, 2010.

Nelson Mandela International Day shines a light every year on the legacy of a man whose monumental achievements changed the 20th century and shaped the 21st. His values and determination — a deep commitment to human rights, freedom, and justice — are reflected on, and are a source of inspiration for others. Mandela advocated for the rightful dignity and equality of every living person and encouraged engagement and solidarity across all borders. His relentless pursuit for equality was paralleled with his status as the founding father of peace in South Africa.

Nelson Mandela remains a symbol of power by resisting oppression. In times of turbulence, Mandela’s legacy teaches everyone to choose dignity over humiliation, speak up during injustice, and forgive rather than hate. He once said, “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” In 2014, the Nelson Mandela Prize was established by the UN General Assembly — an award recognizing the achievements of those who went far and beyond to serve humanity.

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