Sun International donation has Soweto Basketball Academy shooting for the stars

With the growing popularity of basketball at school level, Sun International has stepped in to assist the Soweto Basketball Academy with a R200,000 sponsorship of 40 brand new sneakers, three Acer laptops and non-perishable food items to help the young players not only shoot the hoops, but shoot for the stars.

Founded in 2013, Soweto Basketball Academy has grown from seven children and one basketball to more than 350 players, across five different junior National Basketball Association (NBA) teams.

The Non-Profit Organisation provides a basketball programme to the children and youth of Soweto and surrounding areas, in form of recreation and life skill training. Inclusion is also a focus, with 45% of its players being female.

Speaking about the sponsorship, Sun International’s SED Manager Heidi Edson said, “One of our core Socio-Economic Development focuses is Education, Arts and Sports and with partners in our surrounding communities, we aim to nurture talent from a young age to foster education and community development. As Soweto Basketball Academy is doing just this, we are thrilled to play a role in them further developing young talent and uplifting communities.”

“The sneakers were the highlight amongst the kids – especially as they were given to those that did not have proper shoes to play in, who were mostly girls,” said Monwabisi Dlamini founder of Soweto Basketball Academy. “Having new, good quality, shoes to play in gave them such a confidence boost that our U15 girls won the Tsietie Mashinini Basketball tournament, the very first tournament they played in with their new kicks.”

“It is amazing how one small change like new shoes has impacted the confidence, dedication and work ethic of a young athlete,” he said.

In addition, the NPO’s office staff now have laptops, and are able to perform administration digitally for the first time. “Being elevated to the digital era means we can operate more professionally and we are also able to help our athletes with school related tasks that require a PC.”

“The interest in basketball is widespread and brings people together, and it is encouraging to see the youth of Soweto, as well as more girls, engaged in healthy regimes that promote teamwork and life skill development,” said Edson.

Soweto Basketball Academy has, over the years, positioned itself amongst the best, securing multiple championships within all the major junior tournaments and leagues – more recently they have won the Jozi Nuggets Basketball tournament and the Mamelodi Easter Basketball Tournament Championships.

The NPO wishes to further expand its impact and grow basketball within primary schools.

“We are beyond grateful to Sun International for everything they have done for us and the children of Soweto Basketball Academy, as we continue to successfully grow the grassroots basketball development programme,” said Dlamini.


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