- Last Updated on 19 September 2012
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Artists for Democracy in Zimbabwe Trust (ADZT) held a unique sport for peace event at Zaka, Jerera Growth Point on the 15th of September 2012. The event featured teams made up of community members and police officers from Zaka Police Station. Four netball and three soccer teams participated in the event whose aim was to use sports as a vehicle for promoting peace in Zaka, an area which saw the worst of political violence in 2008 and which is still experiencing organised political violence.
The Zaka soccer team was dominated by police officers from Zaka Police Station with Constable Bere acting as the teams' captain. Traditional leaders such as Headman Gonese of Ward 19 in Zaka attended the event. Speaking at the event Headman Gonese said civic society organisations such as ADZT are well positioned to facilitate the process of relationship-building by bringing people together and engaging them in dialogue and programmes that cross diverse political boundaries. In addition he said sporting events like the one held at the weekend play an important role in promoting peace, strengthening social ties and building stability in local communities.
Also present at the event was the Councillor for Ward 19 Mr Imbayarwo (MDC-T). Councillor Imbayarwo said community sports programmes provide shared experiences between people and also assist in bringing opposing groups together as a way of building a foundation for lasting peace. Imbayarwo said regular sporting activities among people who perceive each other as enemies can also help address electoral violence, associated trauma and promote healing by providing safe spaces for activities that enable victims of political violence to regain a sense of security and normalcy.
The Zaka football team captain, Constable Bere, said sport is a powerful tool that can be used to open the doors for peaceful co-existence among warring communities.
"Sports can be used to facilitate dialogue and defuse political tensions between communities. It can also be used to promote nationalism. These sports for peace initiatives play a valuable role in helping to prevent violence and build peace in communities," said Bere.