Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Emma Kantema-Gaomas emphasised that sport plays an important role in promoting mental health, especially in a world where this has become critical.
Kantema-Gaomas, during the opening ceremony of the United Nations (UN) All Africa Games 2023 in Swakopmund on Friday, noted that sports offer a powerful antidote, help release endorphins, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote a sense of well-being.
“We believe that through events like the UN Africa Games, we can empower our youth, promote mental health, and build a stronger, healthier society. So, as we compete in these games, let’s remember the positive impact we are making on our mental health, let us therefore celebrate the power of sports to uplift, to heal, and bring us together,” she expressed.
The deputy minister also highlighted the pivotal role the games will play in strengthening relationships among the UN offices and agencies across various country offices.
“This unity and collaboration maximise our collective productivity, fostering a spirit of camaraderie that transcends borders and cultures. It is a testament to the power of sport, a universal language that brings us together, regardless of our backgrounds or nationalities. These games are not just about the physical prowess of our athletes but also about the mental and social benefits that come with them.”
Erongo governor Neville Andre Itope said the games could not have come at a better time, especially after many across the continent and beyond have witnessed the loss of colleagues, friends, or family, and to save lives when many were frontline soldiers providing vaccines and other necessities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As we are gathered here for the next few days, let us pay tribute to those we have lost during the pandemic and remember their dedication to fight Covid-19 in different communities as frontline soldiers. These games are more than just about winning medals and breaking records, they are also a platform for fostering peace, promoting collaboration, and leaving a positive impact on the communities we serve,” he said.
Nine countries, including the host Namibia, are participating in different sports codes during the games, which ended on Saturday with an award ceremony.