25 January 2011
The government has launched a “Magnificent Friday” campaign to encourage South Africans to get behind the country’s national sporting teams, three of which are gearing up for World Cups taking place this year.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, along with the national rugby, cricket and netball associations, launched the campaign in Pretoria on Friday.
Mbalula called on all citizens to wear their favourite team’s jersey, as well as participate in the numerous activities in the pipeline, every Friday leading up to the respective World Cup tournaments.
The 2011 Cricket World Cup, taking place in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, starts next month, while the Netball World Championship takes place in Singapore in July, and the Rugby World Cup kicks off in New Zealand in September.
“Every Friday is going to be a rocking Friday,” Mbalula said at Friday’s launch, which was broadcast live on SABC2’s Morning Live programme. “Every Friday will be magnificent. Through this campaign, we are building a movement of excellence and success.
“The response this morning from South Africans was fantastic,” Mbalula added. “We want to make things happen in the area of sports in this country, we want people to understand that we are alive, vibrant and we rock!”
Next Friday, the Magnificent Friday campaign will be taken to Park Station in Johannesburg.
“Through this campaign, we want our people to rally behind our national teams, but we are also deepening nation building, and we want our people to demonstrate passion for their various sporting codes.”
Mbalula said Magnificent Friday would kick off in his department with staff members wearing the three national team’s jerseys. “Throughout the campaign, we will be leading from the front, along with the Department of Arts and Culture.”
The minister added that he expected players to reciprocate by demonstrating their fighting spirit on the field and by “making the nation proud”.