Sport’s power for wellness emphasized at 13th United Nations Africa Games
By Adolf Kaure.
At the official opening of the thirteenth edition of the United Nations Africa Games which took place last Friday in Swakopmund, the Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Hon Emma Kantema-Gaomas said sport has a positive impact on mental health.
“Physical exertion as we all know, releases endorphins in the body and this acts as our bodies’ natural detectors reducing stress and anxiety,” she said.
The games were held under the theme: “the positive impact of sport on mental health.”
“Sport promotes a sense of well-being and the benefits of sport extends beyond the physical activities. Therefore, participating in sport fosters a sense of being part of a team. It teaches us to be resilient, to be disciplined and [it teaches] the value of hard work,” said Kantema-Gaomas.
She added that the UN Africa Games is not just about competition but also fosters unity, shared harmony and a celebration of a diverse cultural heritage.
“The UN Africa Games play a pivotal role in strengthening relationships among the UN offices and agencies across various countries.”
“This unity and collaboration maximizes our collective productivity that transcends borders and cultures. It is a testament to the power of sport as a universal language and it brings us together regardless of our background or nationality,” she said.
Also speaking at the games’ opening, the UN Resident Coordinator in Namibia, Hopolang Phororo said that the games play a vital role in enhancing relationships, networking and partnerships among the staff in UN offices and agencies across various country offices.
“The games also advocate for unity and shared harmony in country teams, as we will showcase [our] diverse cultural heritage,” said Phororo.
The countries that took part at the UN Africa Games are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.
The competing nations battled it out in athletics, soccer, netball, badminton, darts, table pool, chess, tennis, table tennis and squash. The games concluded on Saturday.
Athletes sprint to the finishing line during a men’s 100m heat. (Photograph by Adolf Kaure)