SPORT brings peace and unity and is one of the greatest sources of entertainment, no doubt about it. Sports have been bringing people from all over the world together since the first Olympics in Greece many years ago. Sports bring to people a sense of accomplishment, but more importantly, unity. By their very nature, sports essentially denote participation.
They are about inclusion and citizenship. Sport activities bring individuals and communities together, highlighting commonalities and bridging cultural or ethnic divides. And, as we Tanzanians mark the 55 years of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, it should continue to give more emphasis to sports development to promote greater unity among its people. It should be remembered that Tanzania stands out as the only country in Africa which was formed as a union of two independent states.
No other union has been consummated on the entire continent, because unity is simply hard to earn. One way to describe it all is that the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar is unique to the world, where everyone feels at home wherever one goes. Tribalism has not been such a major problem in Tanzania and sports have been among the factors that always put the people of this great nation together.
Tanzania is known for its diversity in culture, arts and religion. Although, there have been no ethnic riots in the country, Tanzanians have always strived to break down divisions among people through sport competitions, because the power of sports in forging unity cannot be underestimated over the world.
For many years now people of the two sides of the union have been coming together in various sporting events such the annual Easter Sports festival, Mufindi Muungano Football Cup, Union netball Championship and Union basketball Championship.
The annual Easter sports festival will remain one of the most popular sporting activity that converge people from the two sides of the union, where the event is held on rotation basis. It’s a competition of creativity, fun and teamwork. We have witnessed the extent and far-reaching consequences of participation in sports to the individual, community, organisation, institution and the nation.
The benefits are indeed tremendous and especially in managing human conflicts. As we celebrate this ‘unique union’, sports will indeed continue to serve human development in our country.