Founded in 2001, the South African Rugby Legends Association is a registered non-profit company (NPC) with two complimentary objectives: Developing rugby at the grassroots level through our Vuka and Iqhawe week programmes and supporting the needs and interests of Ex rugby players in South Africa.
Our development projects, under the name of VUKA, focus on young players in disadvantaged communities who have traditionally been excluded from structured rugby training and grassroots level competition. By nurturing the personal growth and athletic potential of these youngsters, we hope to give them the skills and confidence they need to succeed both on and off the field. Our broad aim is to uplift individuals, and by extension communities, create advancement opportunities for talented players and create a deeper, broader pool of professional level talent.
Under VUKA, some 30 000 youngsters receive regular training from qualified coaches. Their teams engage with one another at regional tournaments; they come to know a sense of belonging and aspiration. As Nelson Mandela has said, ‘Sport has the power to change the world………it speaks to youth in a language they understand and creates hope where there was only despair’. The benefits of structured and professionally managed activities for kids after their school has ended up producing caring individuals and helps steer them away from all the unpalatable alternatives, such as drug-taking and gang participation.
The top boy and girl Vuka players get the opportunity to represent their provinces at the National Iqhawe week. In 2023 there are 16 boy’s teams and 6 girls’ teams participating at the Hollywood Foundation Iqhawe week in Johannesburg having grown from only 8 boy’s teams in 2013.
Legends contribute to our projects thorough coaching, training, fundraising, organising matches and ‘passing on the passion’ of the game. Their enthusiasm for ‘giving back’ to the rugby community is critical to our success. As an organisation, we strive to give them a home base for building careers off the field, supported by the camaraderie, loyalty and shared passion of fellow Legends. Rugby Legends include not only former players, but also all the other hard-working folk who have contributed over so many years; the coaches, administrators, referees, and all those who have supported the sport from the side of the field. Legends also participate in local and international tours under the SARLA banner. Rugby clubs across the country are supported by Legends who contribute toward their individual outreach community projects.