Nelson Mandela views on sport

President’s message for the 2012 Bocce Bowls magazine

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair. Sport speaks to people in a language they can understand.” Nelson Mandela

Sport is not just about the players, the competition and the spectacle – it also plays an important role at the individual, community, and global level.  For the individual, sport can develop one’s personal abilities, general health and self-knowledge.  It can also bring communities together and contribute to economic and social growth and improve public health.

Sport alone cannot resolve complex social and economic challenges.  It can, however, serve

as a powerful education platform, a highly effective tool for social mobilisation, a means of

strengthening individuals and communities, and a source of profound joy, inspiration and

hope.  Effective programs embody the best values of sport while upholding the quality and integrity of the sport experience carefully designed to be inclusive.  In these respects, sport and development are complementary processes that, when combined, can enable governments and key stakeholders to build more cohesive and harmonious communities breaking down barriers locally and building strong relationships internationally.


Internationally, the Bocce Federation of Australia is proud of its international success in fostering relationships that span five continents and many cultural experiences.  This year we celebrate a very special anniversary – ten years of ongoing China-Australia Junior and Under 23 year’s competition!  This is an enduring friendship forged 30 years ago during a bocce promotional visit to some of China’s tertiary Physical Education Institutions – Institutions that can now boast having trained today’s world bocce champions and whose alumni are teaching the bocce champions of tomorrow!  Japan and Singapore also share a very close sporting bond with the Bocce Federation of Australia.

Globally the sport of bocce is gaining in popularity with an ever increasing number of countries joining the Confederation Mondiale du Sport Boules.  The sport has become a permanent fixture at the Mediterranean Games and the World Games, delivering an additional level of competition to the world’s top bocce champions – and yes, there is an Australian in this elite club.  To maintain this momentum of expansion, the collective vision moving forward is to promote the sport to a wider recreational audience utilising simplified rules – closest to jack concept which we call “Oz bocce” so that it can be played in schools, enjoyed on the beach, the local park or by the young sophisticates that frequent the Melbourne bars that have already adopted the trend! 

The Bocce Federation of Australia prides itself not only delivering a quality international sport experience that is fun, enjoyable and accessible, but through its contribution to the Special Olympics and Paralympics movement it offers a sport that can raise awareness in the community about what persons with disabilities can achieve!  Ongoing collaboration and higher government and commercial sponsorship support can make a very valuable contribution in allowing people to have diverse sporting/recreational experiences with benefits for everyone, including business! 


Raymond Cher