Queen's Baton Relay visits Daveyton, Reiger Park | SASCOC - SASCOC

Queen’s Baton Relay visits Daveyton, Reiger Park

By Mark Etheridge

The Queen’s Baton Relay continued to raise 2014 Commonwealth Games sporting awareness in South Africa on Tuesday as day two of the┬á spectacle rolled out in Gauteng.

In South Africa for five days ahead of its journey back to Glasgow, Scotland, the QBT went back to Ekurhuleni region and visited Daveyton and Reigers Park.

The motor calvacade was received at the entrance to Daveyton by schoolkids lining the roadside with flags and the baton was then given a guard of honour by pupils at the Chief Luthuli Primary School from Daveyton, near Benoni.

A musical trio of two saxophonists and a marimba drummer then performed as the first group of relay runners set off down Heald Street.

Again pupils of two local high schools, Hulwazi and Mabuya as well as the Isidingo College, lined the road yelling encouragement.

The festive spirit continued with the mingling of motorcade sirens and the singing of Shosholoza by the group of runners.

Daveyton Sports Council  president Paul Mbowane was in one of the cars and explained the significance of the many placards reading NYAOPE along the route.

“We have a big problem of drugs in this area, something that we really help that sport and occasions such as today can help get rid of.”

As the first relay came to an end across the way from the Daveyton Mall, a game of five-a-side football was taking place between a side made of locals taking on players from neighbouring countries.

This was to highlight the ongoing problem of zenophobia, brought to the fore last year with the tragic death of a Mozambican taxi driver in the area.

Said SASCOC president and Commonwealth Games Federation vice-president Gidon Sam: “We really shouldn’t be saying ‘I am an Angolan, a Mozambican, a Nigerian… we should be saying, I am African.”

At a lunch function shortly after the speeches, a 2014 Games mascot, Clyde, was presented to the local MMC (Member of the Mayoral Council), to commemorate the occasion.

The second trip of the day was to Reigers Park near Boksburg and once again immaculately turned out school children from the Reiger Park Secondary and Primary schools lined the streets.

This time it was a combination of cyclists, roller skaters and runners who carried the prestigous baton on its trip.

Acknowledging the visit, local ward councillor Charles Crawford said: “This is a wonderful occasion for Reiger Park to get international recognition. I must thank SASCOC and the Commonwealth community who made it possible. We are on the international map, and the world will see us.”

Crawford again pushed the drugs issue. “Drugs are a major, major problem in our area, even from primary school level. There are drugs being sold on virtually every street corner. But thanks to SASCOC and the Commonwealth I am of the opinion that today will be a motivating factor in that ongoing battle.”

Wednesday sees the baton taking the Gautrain north to Tswhane where it will visit the Voortrekker Monument and then on to Freedom Park courtesy of a relay involving most our 2012 Olympic Games gold medal-winning rowers.

It will also feature relay runners from Sunnyside Park to the Union buildings and the day will end with a dinner hosted by SASCOC in Sandton.

Picture: Wessel Oosthuizen

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