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Africa Youth Cup - Mexico

III Africa Youth Cup Soccer Tournament in Mexico, 28-30 September 2011

Ambassador MN Mbete, South African Ambassador to Mexico and Dean of the Africa Group,
with members of the Diplomatic Corps and other VIP's at the opening ceremony of
the III Africa Youth Cup 2011

The Africa Youth Cup Soccer Tournament was initiated by the South African Embassy in 2009, as a 2010 FIFA World Cup promotional activity. Since 2009, it has grown to include an increasing number of Mexican institutions, namely; the National Autonomous University; Senate Africa Commission; National Sports Commission; Football Federation; Institute of Anthropology and History; the Slave Route Project of UNESCO; Mexico City Government; Grupo Marti; Coca-Cola; South African Airways.
The participating African embassies are: People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria; Republic of Angola; Republic of Cote d’Ivoire; Republic of Nigeria; Arab Democratic Republic of Saharawi; Republic of South Africa.

Ambassador MN Mbete, South African Ambassador to Mexico and Dean of the Africa Group,
and LA Mpepho 1st Secretary South African Embassy
with the crowd at the Opening of the Africa Youth Cup 2011

This year’s event was organised in celebration of the International Year for People of African descent. 2011 was declared by the United Nations Resolution 64/169, on 18 December 2009, as the International Year for People of African descent. The key activities of the tournament are football matches, cultural exhibitions; working visits to the schools by African embassies and the food festival in the closing ceremony. The working visits to the school constitute what can be termed as grass roots diplomacy. This is diplomacy focused at the basic level of education with the aim to communicate to young people about the importance of international cooperation and partnerships.
The idea to have the tournament annually is to promote exchange programmes in the area of culture, focusing on sport (in particular football) and education between Mexico and the African countries. It also complements the annual Africa Week events organised by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The South African Embassy sponsored a team of Mexican Afrodescendants from one of the poor regions in the State of Oaxaca, the Costa Chica. The young Afro-Mexicans (Under 17 years) visited the Capital, Mexico City, for the first time in their lives. Participation in the tournament was for them not just about playing football and learning more about Africa; it was also about discovering their own country. The support of the Embassy has, therefore, helped the team formulate new perspectives about life. According to their testimony, the tournament had also created indelible memories and new opportunities for their development.


By Lwandiso Mpepho
South African Embassy Mexico City, Mexico
 


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