From below, the majesty of the mountain is breath-taking; it stands tall and majestic. It can be seen from kilometers away. It stands mimicking one of the great landscapes of South Africa, and yet at the same time is stands on its own two feet as a remarkable landscape and story of the community, where it comes from, what it has survives and overcome, and as a reminder of what the spirit of Ubuntu can accomplish when united on a communal goal for the salvation of the people.
ILENGE is a mountain with its own unique story and when you come close to it, you can listen to it as it tells it in its own majesty. On a bright sunny day, it an echo of what can be achieved and the sustained success to all and any scourges by a strong participation base in the community, because every community has a strong story to tell. When days are dark, and a cloud covers the mountain, it rekindles the fears of the past, as people would be uneasy because the clouds would signal the coming of the cannibals from the mountain to attack the people. The people of Ilenge lived in this cloud of fear for many years, until the chief gathered the people and asked them to face their fears and fight off that which caused them to fear. And today, there are no more cannibals up the mountain – yet there are still many cannibals that eat away our people.
Cannibalism is said to be the act of one individual of a species consuming all or part of another individual of the same species as food. Cannibalism has been part of the history of the people of Ilenge and continues to be part of the people of Ilenge figuratively.
As far back as 1874, the people of Msinga have been at each other’s throats, maiming and killing each other just because one sect of people deemed themselves better than the others.
This history of war, has continued to a point that even at our time we are one of the regions that are highly watched because of warring factions. And when these cannibalistic tendencies take place, the life of the community stops; kids cannot go to school, clinic are closed, and no form of transport is available for the community. To be at this tranquillity of peace, it has taken a lot of community collaboration and cooperation.
And every time that these cannibalistic tendencies show themselves in the lives of the people, the elders remind the people how we defeated the cannibals of the Ilenge mountain and how together we too can defeat these current trends of cannibalism. Yet many of the current cannibalism hide itself as the cannibals hid themselves from the people in the clouds – and their manifestation is sublime to say the least, yet their effect is just as devastating. Corruption, HIV/AIDS, Poverty, Unemployment, Illiteracy, Gender-Based violence and Prejudice. It was the reflection of our elders that brought about the ILENGE ANNUAL SOCCER TOURNAMENT as a means of uniting the people to celebrate community life without cannibalism and as a way to remind the community that
when we are united upon a single vision – not even cannibals will stop us and it is here that sport was seen as a resource to developing wholesome community life. The value of sport and recreation as a social connector is one of its most powerful development attributes. Community sport and recreation networks are an important source of social networking, helping to combat exclusion and fostering communities’ capacity to work collectively to realise opportunities and address social challenges. If the population involved is broadly inclusive, the connecting dimension of sport can help to unify people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, establishing a shared bond that contributes positively to social cohesion.
Emerging evidence highlights the impact of sport in relation to creating stronger communities and addressing issues of community safety, including reductions in anti-social behaviour (cannibalism), reductions in the propensity to commit crime, and reductions in the fear of crime amongst the wider community. There is substantial evidence to show that sport has the ability to overcome social barriers and empower individuals. It can help to increase social cohesion and provide opportunities for engagement in community life through voluntary work. Well-designed sport and physical activity programs are powerful tools for fostering healthy child and individual development, teaching positive values and life skills, reducing conflict and criminal behaviour, strengthening education and preventing disease (particularly HIV and AIDS).