The prestigious Gauteng Sports Awards took place on the 29th of September, at the Sandton Convention Centre. The Awards are presented by the Gauteng Provincial Government as part of their ongoing drive to foster sports development and excel-lence throughout the country, by recognising sports stars who will serve as an in-spiration for generations to come.
A Who’s Who of South Africa’s greatest achievers were on-hand to be honoured for their contribution to sport, and the South African Rugby Legends’ (SARLA) VUKA Programme was among the winners. VUKA was named the Gauteng Sports Awards’ Community Sport and Recreation Programme of The Year for 2019.
The VUKA initiative was established in 2009, to develop South African rugby at grassroots level. Since its inception, the Programme has played a major role in transforming rugby, by empowering young people from previously disadvantaged areas and schools where rugby is not offered as an extramural activity.
VUKA was in extremely good company in their category, as the other two nominees were the Maimane Alex Development Foundation (Football), and the Thandanani Drop Inn Complex (Multi-Coded), both organisations that do extremely valuable work. SARLA is honoured by this award and is grateful for the recognition that VUKA is making an ever-increasing impact on young lives.
SARLA CEO Stefan Terblanche said, “This is such a great validation for the VUKA team, especially coming just off the back of our Iqhawe Week tournament, where we saw some of the best up-and-coming young rugby talent doing amazing things.
“We’re very grateful for all the hard work that the VUKA coordinators, volunteers and coaches have put in to make this award possible. The credit really belongs to them and to the young players who have given their all.
“Special thanks to Jaco Coetzer and the VUKA team in the Valke region, who were also recognised at the Ekurhuleni sports awards on the 20th of September.”
The VUKA team from Gauteng’s Valke region picked up several awards at the Ekurhuleni Sports Awards this year. The winners were:
- Katlego Tsagane – Volunteer of the year
- Gesie Van der Merwe – Administrator of the year
- Valke Rugby Union – Federation of the year (Second Place)
- Lucretia Aucamp – Coach of the year
Yet another accolade was awarded at the 2019 ruggas.co.za Awards on 03 October. Ruggas.co.za honours the top schoolboy rugby stars and celebrates rugby devel-opment at South African schools’ level. SARLA received the Award of Excellence for Iqhawe Week – a distinctive honour that was also accepted with great pride.
Gavin Varejes, SARLA President, said, “Well done to all the VUKA coordinators, coaches and our ongoing sponsors for their dedication to rugby development. These awards are a great acknowledgment of their tireless efforts. And a special thank you to Cell C, whose contribution has been invaluable. We can’t wait to see what happens next year!”
Congratulations to all the winners this year. SARLA looks forward to achieving more great milestones in rugby development in years to come, and thanks to every-one involved for their tireless effort and dedication.