Sports can promote peace

By Akol Arop Akol

Games and sports are social occasions where people gather to interact among themselves. They are good sources because they promote peace. Sports such as football, basketball and the rest have fans all over the world. We can see on TV how the outside people fill stadiums in large numbers to watch the matches. People love sports because they make them relax and refresh their minds from daily stress.

Coming to South Sudan, they love sports more than politics and more than their cultures. They can even sleep hungry and pay the little pounds they have for watching the game hopping that their teams will win.

They may sleep out because they don’t want to miss any game that is scheduled to kick off late. Unfortunately they love foreign players more than their lives. They can even fight when supporters of the competing team try to laugh at them or bully.

They feel bad and ashamed so they misbehave to show their braveness.  Some would even break their smart phones and throw glasses around and act madly at anyone who may interfere. I onetime witnessed in Home and Away where someone broke his Samsung S9 Plus just because his team was beaten.

Some of them make sure there are small whisky containers in the pocket to warm their minds or bodies in cold weather of the city and also to keep them talkative such that when their teams win they will celebrate loudly and proudly like they are the heroes but when they lose it causes division, they quarrel and even exchange blows.

This is only where games and sports become misused instead of being entertainments for refreshment and unifying factor.  If you shoot a gun, people will all run away from that place but when you pick a microphone and sing, people will be attracted even the busy passengers would pause their journeys to first listen to the messages in the speech or song. They may even dance excitedly.

If you also get people playing a good game it will take your attention and be drawn to watch it. Either players playing football, basketball, netball or wrestling can attract peacefully.

Games and sports are the best tools South Sudanese can use to build peace in their communities. We have seen how games like cultural wrestling; bring people together like those which were organized between Terekeka and Jonglei States. Wrestling is the favorite game in States like Bor, Yirol etc.

Our country is getting healed from trauma that has affected people’s lives. Peace and unity can be promoted through social activities that involve participants from different backgrounds, thus the players become one family and the spectators (fans) become like neighbors.

When they meet to interact and listen to moral songs they would joyfully dance, this makes them forget the past evil ideologies about one another. It is not that our people are used to negative life but their leaders have sharpened the differences among themselves.

Though people who are neutral and patriotic among people, they are not able to manifest their capabilities due to criticism and lack of opportunities to work or lead.

The young people outside there have something that can change South Sudan either socially, economically or politically but they are not given chance to show what they know or can.

They can be empowered in many ways such as taking them to schools to realize their dreams. Their talents need to be discovered and developed. Those who have playing skills should be supported, one time they will be great players.

It is young people who can carry out sport activities that bring togetherness and happiness of multitude. Let the games and sports be encouraged both by leaders and civilians. This is the easiest way to build peace among ourselves.

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