Netball South Africa will dedicate the 2015 Diamond Challenge international series to the victims of xenophobia in what it hopes will be a symbol of peace and reconciliation.
Launched in 2012, the Diamond Challenge is a tournament that pits Africa’s strongest netball nations against each other and serves as a platform for the development of netball on the continent.
Netball SA president Mimi Mthethwa said the federation would like the 2015 Diamond Challenge, which takes place in Durban where the xenophobic violence first erupted earlier this month, to serve as a symbol of peace and unity.
The tournament, which runs from June 14 to 18, will feature the national teams of Uganda, Zambia and Malawi.
“As Netball South Africa, we want the world to know that we in the sports community and general populace deplore the senseless acts of violence and displacement of extremely vulnerable communities,” said Mthethwa on their website.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda has hailed the stand taken by Netball South Africa.
“It is welcome news and it shows they are really are against xenophobia. I talked to her [Mthethwa] last week and she assured us of security because initially our fear was security. They are providing accommodation and internal travel and it is important they put security escort,” said Chinunda.
Mthethwa said they have always been proud to host their African sisters and compete against them in the spirit of friendship.
Malawi and South Africa are expected to revive their ongoing rivalry, which has seen them battle neck and neck for the top ranking on the continent and the world.
The two nations will again lock horns at the 2015 Netball World Cup in Sydney from August 7 to 16 as they have been seeded in the same pool.