Unified Sports Day: an opportunity for friendship


Shumbashaba Horses Healing People and Special Olympics South Africa came together yet again to host the second Unified Sports Day, allowing for athletes both with and without disabilities to play alongside one another in the same team, and creating opportunity for integration within society.

“Following from the success of hosting this event last year, we decided to try to establish Unified Sports Day as a regular biannual event with the next one scheduled for 30 November 2013,” said Shumbashaba founder Sharon Boyce. “It is an opportunity to provide a day of friendship and fun in sport.”


shumbashaba-250Unified Sports Day allows for athletes both with and without disabilities to play alongside one another in the same team,  creating opportunity for integration within society (Image: Shumbashaba)One of the underlying aims of Shumbashaba is about building self-esteem and a sense of purpose among people, including people with disabilities. Working with the kids from Diepsloot, Sharon has in the last 10 years realised that sports plays an integral role in achieving this purpose.

However, Diepsloot has very few sporting facilities for kids outside of school and virtually nothing to help those with disabilities.

So, when Special Olympics South Africa wanted to organise an event which created access to sports opportunities for people with intellectual disability, the facilities at Shumbashaba was an obvious choice since it is a neighbouring facility to the township and also works closely with their kids.

For some it is their first opportunity to participate in sport at competition level.


This is a grassroots event bringing together a number of organisations with an interest in sport for people with and without disabilities. It is a collaboration of partners including Special Olympics South Africa, Shumbashaba, Bona Lesedi, Diepsloot Arsenal Development Club, Diepsloot Youth Projects, and the South African National Equestrian Schools Association (Sanesa).

Events such as these run on the goodwill of sponsorship from organisations like Auto & General who have recently built a new head office in the area.  “We recently moved into the neighbourhood and in the spirit of good corporate citizenship, we are pleased to support the Shumbashaba and Special Olympics SA to host Unified Sports Day,” Auto & General’s Tom Creamer says.