This month Nike relaunches the center in South Africa founded in 2010 that offers a safe space for young people to play sports.
Playing, doing sports and accessing safe and inclusive spaces in one's local community is an opportunity, bordering on a real right. Nike, which has always invested in creating a generation that is sportingly and socially active, has founded SHAPA Soweto on this thought.
Introduced in summer 2010 as a gaming community focused on creating the South African town's next class of footballers, SHAPA Soweto combined football sessions to motivate young talent as well as educational and social sessions, such as HIV/ AIDS prevention. Over 20,000 young players participated, confirming that Nike's not new commitment to the African country has been a good investment, if only on a human level.
Removing barriers to sport and using it as an educational tool has been the brand's mission ever since. Today, SHAPA Soweto is still a hub for football, officially relaunched in November 2021, and has expanded to include spaces for basketball, athletics, dance, training, judo and skateboarding. This vast choice of sports disciplines serves to allow young people to find their passion and vocation in an inclusive reality where there is a place for everyone.
New is Shapa Active Afterschool, a Nike Made to Play program that will provide over 300 children with a wide range of sports, from soccer to running. A space in Sahpa also for Masai AC, the athletic club founded by the middle-distance runner Caster Samenya who will be able to use it to train.
“Before SHAPA, we knew we could help provide access to sport for young people in the area, but we didn't have the right infrastructure. Nowhere to train was the main barrier we faced. SHAPA is what we needed”, says Semenya, talking about her own growing experience. "Now that he's back, young people will be able to surround themselves with the right people and the right structure to explore different sports."
At SHAPA Soweto, young people, protagonists of a not too distant future, will be able to find an inclusive community where they can discover their passions, encouraged by the safety of the environment created by Nike to pursue their dreams like chasing a ball just before scoring a goal.
Images: Nike Press Office