Former Mandela University student Molatelo Racheku combined his passions of sport and diplomacy in a paper presented to the BRICS+ Sport Diplomacy Forum last month.
The 29-year-old social activist, originally from Botlokwa in Limpopo but now based in Gqeberha, focused his presentation on the power of sport as a unifying force, an ideal often stressed by former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Racheku has a strong background in sport, albeit recreationally, and has made his mark in administration for which he was named Madibaz Sport Administrator of the Year in 2018.
He explained that the forum comprised BRICS member states that came together to encourage collaboration and inclusivity in sport. In doing so, they strive to create new relations while fostering existing ones among the trading bloc nations.
His presentation had its roots in the SA-Russia Bilateral Youth Forum, hosted by the South African BRICS Youth Association (SABYA), in which he participated in July. It included stakeholders from Russia and the rest of the BRICS bloc.
Racheku and other participants were then asked by their Russian counterpart, Kira Ivanova, to write a short proposal to the forum.
“After I put forward my message, I received feedback that the proposal had earned me an invite to present to the BRICS+ Sport Diplomacy Forum.”
The thrust of his paper was to explore collaboration, cooperation and inclusivity of sport in the bloc as well as to promote unity and positive relations among member states.
His paper, titled ‘Sport Diplomacy: New Solutions for New Opportunities’, was presented virtually last month.
“My presentation explored how sport could serve as a catalyst for unity, collaboration and group dynamics, and getting to know those in the BRICS nations,” Racheku said.
“I believe sport has the potential to bridge divides on a global scale.”
The paper’s practical focus is on organising joint sports events offering opportunities to promote cultural exchanges and the implementation of sports diplomacy initiatives among members.
The political science and philosophy graduate felt that next year’s BRICS Games in Russia would be the perfect platform for seeing the vision of a more inclusive global sport collaboration functioning.
Racheku developed his administrative skills after completing his degree at Mandela University in 2018.
It all started when he joined Madibaz Sport’s football manager, Mark Tommy, as a student assistant. Here he was exposed to the operational side of sport while having the opportunity to manage the Madibaz women’s team.
That same year he was the administrator of the USSA football tournament hosted by the university.