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Today marks a week since the appointment of Muzi Bongani Nzima as the new Minister for Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs.

Dear reader, before I address the minister; I must clarify that we just happen to share a surname and it ends there. Anyway, it is normal in a small country like Eswatini. It is no secret that the honourable minister inherits a ministry that is under the spotlight for several reasons. For starters, this is a ministry that has a mandate to promote the development of sports, arts and culture as well as youth, through popular participation and creating an enabling environment for coordinated and structured framework to address socio-economic challenges. This is a ministry that seeks recognition in developing and promoting the use of sports, arts and culture for the empowerment and improving the quality of life for all citizens.


Based on the above, there is a huge responsibility on the minister’s shoulders. It is interesting to note that the minister has already hit the ground running and has already met almost all key stakeholders, including those in football. Being in such a position always comes with huge expectations. Based on his age, he looks like a perfect fit for the ministry, at least for now.
Like his predecessors, he has an assignment to convince the central government that sports is a sector worth investing in, because it has a potential to transform the economy. The minister should lead and be the driver in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes on youths and sports development towards wealth creation, youth empowerment, physical fitness and well-being. This will ensure we achieve excellence in sports and national unity.

A lot of ink and paper have been wasted in explaining the critical role sport can play in changing the lives of young people in the country. We are talking about an industry that has a potential to reduce the incidence of strokes, cancer and depression, resulting in higher productivity and lower healthcare costs. Sports can also strengthen social relationships, by bringing together people from different backgrounds and creating a sense of shared purpose and identity. Moreover, they can provide a productive outlet for young people, keeping them focused and engaged and boosting their self-esteem, thereby reducing their vulnerability to harmful social influences. In short, sports programmes are good for individuals, communities and countries. That is why sports-for-development programmes for at-risk youth get funding from international banks, in at least 18 countries. Such programmes often combine the sport itself with vocational training and internships.


As a policy maker, one of the biggest assignments of the new minister is to ensure that the National Sports Bill is enacted into an Act soonest. Back in 2020, validation of the bill with the relevant stakeholders had already been done. This means a lot of groundwork has been covered by the previous government. We demand a time frame for the delivery of this very important piece of legislation. It is unforgivable to vacate office without this Act. Sixty months (five years) is a long time Mr minister. Back in May, this year, parliamentarians, through a motion, had moved that the then Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Harries ‘Madze’ Bulunga pilot the Sports Bill that will establish a national sport fund, through a levy that will ensure professional sustainability of sport in the country and in support of competency-based education policy adopted by government.

The Sports Bill has not been enacted into law since its drafting. Once it becomes an Act, it has countless benefits that include bringing about E150 million to E200 million per year for sports through the national sport fund. Football stands to get a lion’s share of about 60 per cent. This money, among other benefits, could help in the construction of stadiums, grants to teams, sports facilities, as well as professionalising sports. It is the Act that sports will become fully recognised by government. This can further motivate the private sector to invest and increase their sponsorship for sports. A true leader is one who does things different and outperforms his predecessors. Experts say the quickest way to do things differently is to be you. To try without trying, simply relax into your choices, your preferences, your likes and dislikes, your feelings and your thoughts. Zero copying – simply positive influence; be inspired by others yet feel inspired in your own unique way. Try going with what you feel more than what you think. When you consider trends; what is a trend and who started it? Someone had to invent it – you could be the next pioneer of the latest trend.


Your personal twist and take is what makes you different, in the same way that none of us look identical despite our similarities. Uniqueness is cause for celebration. Something or perhaps many things, you do better than anyone else on the planet. You never have to travel to find yourself – you are already original, special, awesome, individual and unique. Leadership takes intentionality! Some of us lead naturally, but even a natural leader needs to hone and discover the best of themselves. In a nutshell, before making demands that include a delivering an internationally-approved stadium, the starting point for the minister should be the Sports Bill. If he is to be taken serious going forward, it should be delivered at least within the first two years.

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