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Olympians/Paralympians give back to the community
- Updated: July 22, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
It’s always something special to see people in popular public positions putting something back into the community… Daveyton on the East Rand on Friday was one of those occasions.
Two combined busloads of 2016 Rio Olympians and Paralympians took time out from busy pre-Olympic and Paralympic business to visit the Usizolwethu School for Special Needs.
While there they helped plant 67 trees as a belated tribute to late President Nelson Mandela.
First to plant a tree was long jumper Luvo Manyonga, former world junior champion and preparing for his first Olympics.
They also watched a fire-fighting display involving both the local fire department and the kids.
And finally, they assisted in the distribution of lunch to the excited children.
Two South African flags were also handed over to local MEC Dorah Mlambo by Blitzboks sevens rugby Olympian Seabelo Senatla and Paralympian athlete Liezel Gouws.
Said Arwel Sijadu, Director Sports and Recreation for Ekurhuleni as he welcomed all present: ‘This is not a day for speeches this is a day for work. The MEC’s speech is the only speech today. Our work will be to plant those 67 trees around the perimeter of the school property.
For her part, MEC Mlambo said: ‘We all know Mr Mandela love children and education and I think it’s significant for these learners here today… look at this Olympic/Paralympic team and see the hard work and discipline it’s taken for them to get to realise their dreams.
‘Learn from them and remember to always give back.’
The first wave of Olympic athletes leave from OR Tambo International on Saturday evening and they will be joined at various stages by the remainder of the team. Football is the first code involving South Africans and kicks off on 3 August.
The Olympics will run from 5-21 August while the Paralympics are from 7-18 September.
Seems like all media houses were focused on the upcoming local elections, especially broadcast media, and forgot to inform the nation about the departure of Team SA. In that regard I'm sad. But we will be following the games. Do us proud.