As one of the world’s biggest sports, football has a role to play in raising awareness around key societal challenges such as gender-based violence. Absa, the title sponsor of the Absa Premiership, has developed an initiative to tackle the on-going epidemic in South Africa.
Absa has launched the #StoptoStart initiative as a commitment to be an active part of the solution in the fight against gender-based violence. The first step in this journey was the bank’s #Stop campaign, which drove awareness and got South Africans to take note of the prevalence of gender-based violence in the country. The #Stop campaign was showcased in a recent Absa Premiership Woza Nazo fixture between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs.
“The #Stop initiative was an important first step for us, but we need to create a movement to drive positive change and that’s why we now have #StoptoStart.,” says David Wingfield, Managing Executive Branding & Marketing, Absa Group Limited.
To bring about change, Absa is working with non-profit organization, Growing Up Without A Father Foundation. Through the sponsorship of the Absa Premiership, the bank seeks to ensure that young South Africans, particularly boys, will receive the basic building blocks they need to be the positive change in their communities as well as equip them with a sense of self-worth, honour and the belief that violence is never the solution.
The initiative will see positive male role models – including former Absa Premiership players such as Teko Modise, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Brilliant Khuzwayo and Phumudzo Manenzhe provide support through interactive workshops and football-themed activations to more than 800 teenage boys, aged 15-17, from four schools in four provinces during the month of December. The workshops are a critical way to start engaging with the country’s young men in a positive and inspiring way.
“We considered the current social issues as well as the challenges facing young people in communities where there are limited opportunities for fun and informative engagements during the holiday period. We looked at the partners, platforms that we have access to as Absa, and this platform was born out of this,” says Wingfield.
“As a purpose-led organisation, we strive to play a shaping role in society and serve as an active force for good in the communities that we operate in to help bring their possibilities to life. We believe that the creation of positive male role models in our communities can help restore hope and optimism among young men and bring about the lasting change we need,” he adds.
The workshops are a critical way to start engaging with the country’s young men in a positive and inspiring manner. The first activation will take place in Umlazi, followed by ones in Johannesburg, Polokwane and Cape Town between 3 and 10 December 2019.
Former Absa Premiership footballer Teko Modise, says: “What I remember about growing up is just being a kid with no ambition, with so much fear, simply because everybody that was around us wasn’t successful at all. As a former professional footballer, I’m excited to get involved in this initiative where I can inspire, empower and impact young boys from similar backgrounds. It’s an opportunity I never got when I was at their age.”
Modise, recently hung up his boots having played for Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City. He will be joining the boys in Soweto on Tuesday, 3 December and in Cape Town on 10 December.
“Through a creative and audacious combination of fun with purpose, leveraging our sponsorship and citizenship partners, we are setting out to positively impact these young teenage boys. Through the use of our unique Africanacity concept, we will help shape the future men of South Africa and truly bring their potential and possibilities to life,” concludes Wingfiel