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PM hails Mandela's vision of unity through sports

Rashneel Kumar
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

PRIME Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama paid tribute to former South African president Nelson Mandela for his vision to unite people through sports.

Speaking at the Fiji Rugby Union centennial jersey launch at the Holiday Inn in Suva last night, Commodore Bainimarama said Mr Mandela recognised the importance of sports in nation building.

"Whether it's rugby, football, or any of the other sports we play in Fiji, support for a team can give people a common source of pride and a shared association like little else can," he said.

"Perhaps no one understood this better than the late Nelson Mandela, whom we gathered to remember at a special memorial service in Suva today (yesterday).

"This famous South African leader understood the power of sport to bridge divisions in society, as he demonstrated to the world during the 1995 Rugby World Cup."

Commodore Bainimarama said like in South Africa sports in Fiji at their various levels gave pride to the nation.

"This is why a hundred years of rugby is truly something to celebrate, because it's a hundred years of a sport that has enhanced our lives and made us proud to be Fijian," he added.

The limited edition centennial jersey is sold at $5000 a piece.