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UJ, French Embassy celebrate democracy, sportsmanship with inclusive Sports Day

Staff members and students at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), together with staff at the French Embassy in South Africa, enjoyed a fun-filled Sports Day in celebration of 30 Years of Democracy in South Africa on Thursday, 14 March 2024.

The event, which took place at the UJ Soweto Campus sports complex comprising UJ Sport Clubs’ teams’ players from Football, Basketball, Sports for Students with Disabilities, Rowing and Athletics, was also organised to celebrate the build-up to the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

French Embassy in South Africa football staff team

While South Africa prepares for what will be highly contested elections in May this year, the French nation is also gearing up to stage the Paris 2024 Olympic Games which will be held from 26 July to 11 August. Soon after the closure of the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games will run from 28 August to 08 September.

Competing in 5-a-side football, athletics (100m, 200m, 800, and 4x100m relays), rowing and weightlifting, the UJ and French teams highlighted sport as an important pillar in molding careers and building long-lasting community relationships.

Celebrating 30 Years of Democracy and the Road to Paris 2024

“We are here to celebrate the fact that France is hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games later this year, and our 30 Years of Democracy in South Africa. There is a connection between the two concepts – democracy and sports – because they share the same values in uniting people. Today’s gathering also serves as an opportunity and a platform for our University to encourage our students to qualify for the Olympics and the Paralympics,” said Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal: UJ.

Prof Letlhokwa Mpedi and H.E. Mr David Martinon

Prof Mpedi added, “One of our students (Caitlin Rooskrantz) has already qualified to represent South Africa in France and others are also working hard to qualify. Next week, South Africa also celebrates Human Rights Day and, as such, it is quite fitting that we kickstart this partnership today with the French Embassy in South Africa through with our sports stars.”

Echoing the Vice-Chancellor’s remarks, French Ambassador, H.E David Martinon, stated, “This partnership with UJ is an opportunity for us to present and promote the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games which will take place during the northern hemisphere summer period. Today’s event is about promoting sports values; mutual respect, inclusivity, human dignity, and effort. We are extremely happy that this important partnership with UJ Sport involves students in various sporting codes, including athletes with disabilities and the students who do not really play elite sport.”

This year, UJ will host a series of events and public lectures on celebrating 30 Years of Democracy in South Africa.

Present at the event were UJ staff members, students, Senior Executive Director: UJ Internationalisation Office, Prof Ylva Rodney-Gumede, and Senior Director of UJ Sport and Acting Senior Director of UJ Student Affairs, Ms Nomsa Mahlangu.

Follow UJ Sport on FacebookX and Instagram for daily updates.

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