Youth and Sports
Ulli Barde, manager of the Sportgarten, visited Durban with a youth hockey team as early as 1998. It soon became clear that sport creates a connection that goes beyond the common activity on the sports field and acts as a way to strengthen the community.
After first mutual visits and another hockey exchange in Durban in 2003, the connection intensified. Numerous projects were set up in Durban and Bremen, and funds were raised through sporting fundraising campaigns. In 2009 the first “weltwärts” volunteer position was established and young people from Durban also had the opportunity to get to know the youth work of the Sportgarten in Bremen.
Ten years after the first meeting, the idea of the Bremen sports garden was realised in an African counterpart. Young people from Bremen and Durban renovated an already existing skate park and laid the foundation stone for the African sportsgarden iSithumba.
In both places, sport and the involvement of young people creates a community structure that aims to promote an improvement in general living conditions. To this end, Sportgarten e. V. and the City of Durban signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2010, which was extended in 2018 by a further Memorandum with Durban Green Corridor.
One Nation Cup
The One Nation Cup, a unique event, was first held in Bremen in 2006. Initiated by the Sportgarten and realized with the U15 of Werder Bremen and a city selection from Bremerhaven as hosts. Ten guest teams from all over the world were invited – Brazil, China, Denmark, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa and Turkey – all continents were represented. Durban’s U15 team emerged from the final as the first winner of the ONC – the first international success of a South African youth team overseas.
The enthusiasm of the youth to combine the sportive game with an international exchange led to Durban hosting a continuation of the ONC in 2008, in the run-up to the World Cup. Since then, the ONC takes place in different countries every two years, with Bremen and Durban as permanent participants. In 2011 the ONC has been enriched by female teams and together they will be called: Play Football – Win Friends!
The iSithumba Sportsgarden is located in a small village in the rural areas of the Valley of Thousand Hills. The youth of this village have used the conceptual approach of the Bremen Sports Garden for community development. This has given the young people of both sides the opportunity to experience each other’s culture and at the same time to make a difference through sport. The main goal of the organization is to support and strengthen the youth through sports, cultural and educational programs. All programs are comprehensive, inclusive and based on community structures and traditional principles of Ubuntu. The training programs, which take place five days a week, are conducted by local youth in a variety of sports such as BMX, cycling, soccer, netball, chess, athletics, volleyball, canoeing, dancing… The School Outreach Program offers sports, arts and environmental education programs to local schools in the Kwa-Ximba region.
Sportgarten Bremen and iSithumba Sportsgarden organized ongoing youth exchange programs in Bremen and Durban by offering work experience for volunteers, trainees from Bremen companies and students and by organizing work camps.
Nacht der Jugend
The “Nacht der Jugend” takes place annually in the Bremen Town Hall in memory of the victims of the Reich pogrom night in November 1938. The event provides a framework for young people to develop new forms of commemoration. To deal with the inhuman past of their own country and to set an example of courage and against racism through a variety of commitment and artistic expressions.
The Durban counterpart is the “Abasha Bash! Festival”, in which the crimes of apartheid are thematized. During reciprocal visits, the young people of the two twin cities learn about the history of the respective countries and translate this into artistic projects.
The exchange and public presentation show how important it is to face up to one’s own history and to help shape the future. To commemorate the victims of National Socialism and apartheid and to set an example against racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and to stand up for more international understanding and respect.
The Weserhelden show with great success that exercise and sport can be connected with the environment and need not be opposites. Since 2012, they have been organising an annual sponsored run to collect money for sports, environmental and youth projects. The aim is to make children and young people aware of the issue of climate and nature conservation and to bring about a change in behaviour in this respect.
The runners* thus collect donations for one project each in Bremen and also each time for the support of youth and environmental projects in Bremen’s partner city Durban/South Africa. The local partner Durban Green Corridor pursues a similar approach in Durban and encourages young Africans to support nature and environmental protection, for example in the “Ocean Champs” project.