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24 March 2019 | in FISU, CUSF News

History made during FASU General Assembly and strategic dialogues


In hosting the FISU-FASU strategic dialogues and the FASU General Asssemby over the weekend, the Ugandan city of Entebbe showcased sport’s place as a platform for gender equality promotion and women empowerment.


"The role of female sports athletes in leadership is as critical as their male counterparts,” said South African sports activist and administrator Nomsa Mahlangu during day one’s strategic dialogue session. “It is a combination of efforts that will propel us to greater heights."


Ms. Mahlangu's words proved telling as the next day during the FASU General Assembly the Univeristy of Johannesburg's senior sports director was voted FASU president for the next three years. Ms. Mahlangu is the first female to hold this position.


With great progress underway – as evidenced on inclusive opportunities for all across university campuses and a balancing number of athletes competing at the Winter and Summer Universiades and World University Championships – the appointment of more women to leading roles of sports administration and governance further demonstrates the importance members of the University Sport Movement place to equal access of opportunity.


The African university sport administrators from around the continent gathered in the central Ugandan city mapping the way forward for university sport on the continent were joined by a number of high-profile international authorities. These included FISU President Oleg Matytsin and AUSF Secretary General Shen Zhen, with both university sports leaders recently swapping the snow of Winter Universiade 2019 for the warm African sun in Entebbe.


President Matytsin spoke of the purpose these strategic dialogues with continental members had on the University Sport Movement. 


"Just because one approach worked for the last 70 years does not mean it will automatically work for the next 70,” President Matytsin said. “The best athletes do not simply repeat the previous year’s training plans without asking questions about improvement. We must do the same.


“We must consider all of our work from a strong strategic perspective. Just as athletes consider new competitors and new techniques, it is important for us to identify big shifts in our environment and the opportunities they might bring."

The strong contingent of FISU and FASU delegates in Entebbe, Uganda helped set the course for university sport development on the African continent

The theme of the strategic dialogue was “Shaping the Future by Sharing the Vision”, with a number of panel discussions, presentations and debates covering a wide range of topics making up the first day of meetings. Such items included discussions over the status of FISU programmes, partnerships and strategies for the future; the success, lessons, challenges and way forward as far as hosting and competing in university sports events and, fittingly, advancing opportunities for women in sport.


"Africa is a great part of our history and a great potential for our future as FISU, and together we can build for the future of university sport for our children and generations to come," Mr. Matytsin said. "The best way we can do justice to our past is to be ready for our future. You are responsible for the future of your continent, the future of your sports and the future generations. This dialogue was very important in shaping that future."


FASU Secretary General Peninnah Kabenge spoke about the efforts underway in African to better market and manage the identity of university sports, noting the efforts underway to unite the continent’s university sports around the slogan – “We are Africa”, “Nous Somme L’Afrique” – and strategic partnerships with organisations such as the African Union and National Olympic Committees of Africa.


"At FASU we believe in sport for all, as a healthy campus is the way to go,” Ms. Kabenge said. “Young people have to practice sport on different level, even if they don’t go into competitive side of sport.


“At FISU and FASU, we know what sport can do for students; that’s why we not celebrate the International Day of University Sport with such vigor. Last year we had IDUS for everyone. We went to the public to show what sport is and what the University Sport Movement is all about.”


Competitions can also drive mass sport participation, noted Ms. Mahlangu. "We need to share experiences from hosting FISU and FASU events with other universities to help ourselves master the art and also improve the legacy of these events," she said while expressing her optimism on the prospect of African countries hosting more international events.


The telling words of Ms. Mahlangu from the first day's strategic dialogies rang true the very next day at the FASU General Assembly, where nominated candidates were elected into their new positions on FASU’s Executive Committee.


“We would like to congratulate Ms. Nomsa Mahlangu, Senior Director at UJ Sport, on being the first female to become the FASU (Federation of African University Sport) president,” read a statement by her national federation USSA, the South African University Sports Association, following the announcement.


Joining Ms Mahlangu on the FASU Executive Committee will be 1st Vice President Mr Sidibe Daouda from Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe’s Life Chemhere as 2nd Vice President, Secretary General Peninnah Kabenge from Uganda, Abby Kidane Belayhun from Ethiopia as Treasurer and Mercy Lakisa from Uganda as Student Representative.


Following the announcement, South Africans were in a frenzy on social media in congratulating Ms. Mahlangu.


“Thank you, I am humbled,” Ms. Mahlangu posted on her Twitter account. “I am looking forward to the challenge ahead. It’s never about us, but this beautiful continent, for the love of sport and life. We continue to serve and improve our continent for the benefit of our children. Let’s join hands and make a difference.”

Gripping cultural performances provided the ideal respite from the high-level meetings that took place between the FISU-FASU Strategic Dialogues and the FASU General Assembly this past weekend in Entebbe, Uganda

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