The final Mercedes-Benz and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa breakfast features a host of legendary rugby icons

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  • Powerful messages from the Laureus Youth Empowerment through Sport team
  • “The youth are the most important and have the power to change the world”
  • Mercedes-Benz and Laureus continue to make a meaningful difference in the communities across South Africa

Durban – Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa hosted its fifth and final sport-themed breakfast at the Mercedes-Benz Umhlanga Lifestyle Centre, sharing the platform with a number of iconic rugby legends, including former All Black rugby legend Jeff Wilson as well as Laureus ambassador and former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers.

The breakfast featured two separate panel discussions with the first session focusing on the Sport for Good message, panellists included Chester Koyana from LIV Village – a remarkable project that places vulnerable, orphaned children into a family environment; Dallas Oberholzer founder of Indigo Youth Movement – a project that uses the art of skateboarding to ignite positive change in the community; Sbahle Mkhize from Peace Players International; current YES (Youth Empowerment through Sport) protégé Luqmaan Ismail and Mayur Bhana, Vice-President Corporate Affairs for Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

A number of powerful messages were expressed throughout the session, highlighting the immense role the youth play in leading the way and breaking down social barriers. YES protégé Luqmaan Ismail echoed the late President Nelson Mandela, in saying: “The youth is very important and have the ability to speak a language, motivate and create unity in the most trying times – our focus needs to remain on this group, a new breed of hungry, resourceful and charismatic leaders that have the ability to unify SA.”

The second panel featured a number of big names from the rugby fraternity, including Jeff Wilson, Jean de Villiers, legendary rugby commentator Grant Nesbitt and Laureus South Africa Chairman, Morné du Plessis. While many expected the discussion to centre on the past weekend’s game, the panellists spoke candidly about the inspiring project visit with the All Blacks and Springboks at LIV Village; the 1995 World Cup and the great rivalry and mutual respect the two great sporting countries have for each other.

The Springboks and All Blacks may be traditional and fierce rivals on the rugby field, but earlier in the week they joined forces for a good cause. Players from both teams participated in fun-filled community-building sporting activities at the LIV Village, where residential care for orphans and vulnerable children is provided.

“We are extremely grateful to both the All Blacks and Springbok players for taking some time out and visiting LIV Village. What a powerful and emotional day it was, and an honour to show South Africa what an amazing job this project is doing. Essentially this is what we want, to get people to engage with our projects so that we can inspire more people to get involved and assist in the continued fight to create a better society for our youth,” explained Morné du Plessis.

MC of the day, Matt Pearce, commented on a discussion with Jeff Wilson, pointing out that New Zealand have a population of 4 million while SA has just over 5 million orphans, a very sobering reality. “This is why projects like LIV Village are so vital, and why we need to collectively assist in any way we can, both Laureus and Mercedes-Benz, share the same passion for youth empowerment and this is why we have invested so much in the youth of SA. We are all working towards the same goal and the LIV Village motto sums it all up – Rescue a child, Restore a life, Raise a leader and Release a star.” concluded du Plessis.

Well into its second year of this country patronage, Mercedes-Benz South Africa is more dedicated than ever to the work of Laureus and finding ways to support and elevate the positive change sport can make. “Mercedes-Benz South Africa continuously moves forward as a socially responsible corporate citizen and aims to create positive social change with partners such as Laureus in the country,” said Bhana.

MBSA is a proud Country Patron of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in South Africa. The Laureus Foundation supports 19 community-based sports programmes around the country. As education and youth development is a central pillar in MBSA’s Corporate Social Responsibility focus, the company also contributes to the Laureus Youth Empowerment through Sport (YES) programme.

For further information on the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation projects, please visit http://www.laureus.co.za/

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