If you go to prison right now and approach a group of 100 inmates and ask how many of them actively participated in any sort of sporting or leisure event before coming to jail, I can assure you that the statistics from their response will shock you.
I have always maintained that sports participation and creating a sense of belonging are important developmental themes in any process of adulthood. During the adolescent phase, youth become more behavourally autonomous from their parents and the influence of the home environment naturally shifts towards the influence of afterschool, peer and leisure settings.
During the process of adolescence, many young boys and girls become socially and culturally vulnerable to all sorts of preying ill elements of society and the incidence of delinquent behaviours peaks. And at this point of their lives, the only panacea to get the young back on track is sports, nothing else but sports.
It has time and again been proven that the relationship or connection between sports participation and juvenile delinquency is of utmost importance during adolescence.
I remember a sports workshop at the Windhoek Hilton Hotel, when Namibian great sports mind Isack Hamata perfectly elucidated the importance of sports participation for any human being and how sports can have a lasting impact on the outcome of your life.
Hamata explained during that workshop: “If you go to prison right now and approach a group of 100 inmates and ask how many of them actively participated in any sort of sporting or leisure event before coming to jail, I can assure you that the statistics from their response will shock you. The answer will likely be that 80% of those 100 inmates never actively participated in sports during their adolescence and most probably during the time leading up to their sentencing. Therefore, it is a clear sign that sports has the power to keep you occupied with activities that are socially constructive and that can consequently keep you out of danger. Had all those 100 inmates actively partook in any kind of sport activity, I can assure you that 90% of them would have avoided trouble as sport has the power to create a safe haven and also empowers one to make sound life decisions.”
I fully agree with the above sentiments by Hamata, especially when it comes to the influence, power, potential and outreach of sport. This week, local telecommunications giant MTC again demonstrated to all and sundry that sport is indeed the most suitable and indiscriminating vehicle that has the proven ability to bring about the desired change in society.
MTC announced a gigantic manifold sponsorship package to the tune of about N$67.8 million running over three years, which will cater for the arts, entertainment and sport industries. About N$55 million of that amount will go to the well-being of 11 sport organisations and N$13.2 million goes to both the arts and entertainment sectors.
MTC’s N$55 million investment in sports is by far the most diverse sponsorship catering for almost everyone and it will go down in history as the biggest sponsorship commitment by any Namibian corporate.
I, on behalf of all sports loving Namibians, can only doff our hats and say a big THANK YOU to MTC for coming to the aid of hundreds of needy young Namibian boys and girls, who would have otherwise not gotten this unique opportunity.
Now that MTC has done its part, what is now left is for the various federations that benefited from this mega sponsorship to make sure they account for every cent spent, to make sure they have proper governance structures in place and most importantly, to ensure that the targeted beneficiaries (athletes) get to benefit from this great gesture. On that note, as the Latinos would say, gratias tibi MTC!