By FOCUS REPORTER
MINISTER of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula officially unveiled the Andrew Mlangeni Green Jacket for Sports Legends at the Freedom Park Amphitheatre in Pretoria on Friday.
The Andrew Mlangeni Green Jacket will be awarded to South African sporting legends at next month’s South African Sports Awards at the Sun City Superbowl in North West.
The Minister took the opportunity to unveil the special jacket at the launch of the eKhaya Concept for the All Africa Games and the Magnificent Fridays.
The Green Jacket has been named in honour of Andrew Mlangeni, in recognition of the immense contribution of Mr Mlangeni to sport in this country, and his passion for golf in particular which has inspired many young South Africans, in the main, from the previously disadvantaged communities.
This will be conferred to legends, every year, as part of the SA Sports Awards to outstanding individuals who have achieved and contributed immensely to sport in South Africa and its ethos of excellence and social cohesion.
Mr Mlangeni was a liberation struggle hero, for the role he played in bringing the freedom that’s enjoyed by all in South Africa today. Mlangeni, who was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty in the famed Rivonia trial, spent 26 years on Robben Island with fellow struggle heroes Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and Govan Mbeki.
The Andrew Mlangeni Green Jacket will honour sporting heroes and heroines that have excelled at their various sporting codes over the years. Sports and Recreation South Africa, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), together with the public broadcaster the SABC and the North West government have joined hands in arranging a alluring event to honour and reward South African sports’ top achievers and personalities for the role they’ve played in hoisting the country’s flag high both locally and on international platforms. Various sports bodies will also be recognised for their outstanding contributions, at the same event.
Minister Fikile Mbalula has been leading the campaign to recognise excellence among the country’s foremost sporting personalities, particularly the heroes of yesteryear.
Those who will be honoured with the prestigious jacket, include football legend Lucas Radebe, former world boxing champion Brian Mitchell, Olympic marathon gold medallist Josia Thungwane, Olympic champion swimmer Penny Heyns, cricket hero Makhaya Ntini, former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena, star cricketer Jacques Kallis and another former world boxing champion Jacob ‘Baby Jake’ Matlala.
Other categories recipients under Minister’s Award for Excellence that who will be honoured on the 21 August 2011: Caster Semenya; John Smit; Louis Oosthuisen; Sello Rabothata; Steven Pienaar and Noni Tenge.
“Comrade Andrew has been a stand-out example of a committed leader and cadre. The Andrew Mlangeni Green Jacket seeks to honour the role he played in stimulating sport enthusiasm among the many disadvantaged. In the same spirit, we are recognising our sports heroes who have done a lot to bring us the sporting glory we’ve enjoyed over the years. We have a responsibility to honour these icons whilst they are still with us,” says Mbalula.