Media Centre

Press releases

Feature stories

Photo essays

Reporting guidelines

Media contact


South Africa, 22 September 2016: Pursuing her dreams with confidence

© UNICEF South Africa/2016/Biso
Confidence Makwene (Right) with her fellow rhythmic gymnasts.

South Africa, September 2016 – UNICEF has been working with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) in the Northern Cape to increase capacity development of educators and coaches. The overall aim of the project is to encourage young people living in the communities of De Aar, Kimberly and Kuruman to take up sports and participate in healthy, empowering alternatives to the violent and criminal influences that some young people are vulnerable to.

Confidence Makwene is a gymnastics coach who has grown up in the township of Newtown, on the outskirts of Kimberly in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, a region well-known for its diamonds. Coaching at the local Mayibuye sports complex, she hopes to produce her very own sporting diamonds on the gymnastic mat. Seen by her students as a role-model, she hopes to ensure that the life skills she teaches both on and off the mat will lead to well-balanced athletes.

The only regret Confidence has is that she started gymnastics later than she would have liked because of financial challenges at home. Nevertheless, she notes that “gymnastics has been my whole life, allowing me to see places I would never have dreamed of going to” if it was not for the sport.

In 2011 Confidence was chosen to represent South Africa at the Junior World Gymnastics Championships in Switzerland. “I met people from different cultural backgrounds and countries. Being a small-town girl, this was an eye opening experience for me.”

Her wish now is to transfer these new-found skills with her experiences to the children she coaches so that they too can realize their dreams.

UNICEF and Sport for Development

UNICEF believes in the power of sport to realize the goals of development, peace and sustainable development for both children and adults.

Sport for Development (S4D) is an initiative that supports the well-being of children through physical activity and life-skills. In South Africa, S4D was initiated in 2007 with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) as a school safety initiative. It aims to address issues of violence, learner academic performance while also mitigating risky behaviour amongst adolescents.

S4D has evolved to support the development of several School Sports policies, teacher development through training in Physical Education, establishing multi-purpose playing fields as well as youth leadership training to improve learner academic performance.

There is also an active alumni programme which is supported through training and capacity building initiatives and S4D Youth Leadership Awards are given to deserving young people.

Read more about Sport for Development



 Email this article

unite for children