Joburg Ladies Open drives powerful message of hope for young girls

golf18 March 2024 09:52| © SuperSport
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Lily May Humphreys © Gallo Images

The €300 000 Joburg Ladies Open will tee off as the first of two Sunshine Ladies Tour events co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour at Modderfontein Golf Club from 18-21 April, and with a powerful message to the world of how this tournament continues to fight for “Dignity for a Girl Child”.

This year’s tournament will see a field of over 100 leading women golfers competing for glory with the underlying theme of restoring “Dignity for a Girl Child” and empowering and uplifting young girls by advocating for their rights and dignity.

The “Birdies for Dignity” initiative, in collaboration with Spar, will support this message as every birdie made by a professional golfer during the tournament will translate into a dignity sanitary pack donated to the city’s young girls in need.

“This year’s tournament truly epitomises the spirit of a caring city, evident in the Birdies for Dignity initiative,” said Executive Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda.

“This initiative is a key element of what the Joburg Ladies Open represents as a tournament that celebrates excellence in women’s sport while at the same time inspiring a generation of young girls that nothing should hold them back in chasing their own dreams. It’s important for us as a City and as a tournament driven by women to restore and maintain the dignity of girl children.

“The initiative started last year and already provided thousands of dignity packs to the young girls of Zenzeleni Primary School in Alexandra.”

The campaign is a source of tremendous pride for Bongi Mokaba, the Director of Events for the City of Joburg and the tournament promoter, who was also once a young girl growing up in Thembisa chasing her dreams in sport and who today leads the team that organises prestigious golf tournaments in the City of Johannesburg including the Joburg Open on the men’s Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour and the Joburg Ladies Open on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tour.

“No girl should ever have to miss school or something important in her life because of a natural occurrence in her body. It’s up to us as a society to ensure that this doesn’t happen, especially not to young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. Being disadvantaged doesn’t discriminate against your natural talent and potential, but it does often discriminate against your opportunities. So, it is up to us to help that talent to blossom by creating the necessary opportunities through initiatives such as Birdies for Dignity,” said Mokaba.

As a major sports event, the Joburg Ladies Open carries with it a strong message of hope for the young girls of South Africa, specifically those in the less privileged areas.

This is a tournament that made South African sports history when it became the first women’s professional golf tournament to be played at the refurbished Soweto Country Club.

“As a woman who was born in a township, it’s been a dream come true to see how we as the City of Johannesburg have been able to grow the international status of the Joburg Ladies Open and keep inspiring our young girls,” said Mokaba.

“If you can plant the seed of possibility in a young girl and give her the tools to carry herself with dignity in her daily life, that’s when the magic of what happens inside the ropes at the Joburg Ladies Open changes lives outside the ropes as well.”

Mayor Gwamanda also expressed delight at the opportunity to host international events of this calibre and to showcase the city’s outstanding amenities.

“We have world-class sporting facilities and it gives us the opportunity to host these large events. This will benefit our economy, notably the tourism industry.”

Mokaba also announced several new fan initiatives for this year’s tournament.

“One such highlight is the ‘Beat The Pro’ competition where selected golf fans can try and beat the pro with a nearest-to-the-pin shot on a particular par-three and win an all-expenses paid MSC cruise.

“We’ve also collaborated with Group Finance to organise open days during the series of Joburg Ladies Open activations leading up to the tournament. These sessions aim to provide assistance to our customers with any account queries they may have.”