Rakgare Emphasises Genuine Inclusion in Sports for People with Disabilities 

  • Emphasises social inclusion as a key priority of Botswana’s Vision 2036


The Minister of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare, has emphasised the need for genuine commitment to inclusivity in sports.

Addressing the 2024 African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Sports for People with Disabilities Conference in Gaborone, recently Minister Rakgare called on AUSC Region 5 to resist the temptation of window-dressing issues concerning persons with disabilities instead of setting aside the necessary resources, structures and systems to make societies truly inclusive and accessible for all.

Botswana an inclusive nation

Rakgare highlighted Botswana’s dedication to fostering inclusive, cohesive, and accessible societies, as evidenced by the National Sports Development Plan.

“Botswana prides herself as an inclusive nation that provides equitable access to resources and opportunities for vulnerable sections of our communities, especially girls, women, youth, and persons with disabilities,” he said.

The minister pointed out that the country’s goals under the thematic area of Social Upliftment in National Development Plans (NDP) 10 and 11 and beyond aim to ensure a dignified life for all citizens.

Botswana’s Vision 2036  

This is achieved through programmes and projects designed to uplift economically-marginalised and socially-vulnerable populations.

He said social development has been a Key Result Area under NDP 11, which ran from April 2017 to March 2023.

Rakgare also noted that social inclusion and equality are key priority areas under Botswana’s Vision 2036 – Achieving Prosperity For All.

This vision aims to empower people to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives, ensuring equal access to services and socio-economic opportunities for people living with disabilities and the elderly.

Unwavering resolve

He stated that policies, programmes and laws are being reviewed to accommodate the needs and interests of these groups.

Botswana’s sports minister commended delegates from different Region 5 member countries and beyond for their unwavering resolve to change the narrative for people with disabilities through sports.

He stated that their contributions would be crucial in guiding discussions towards concrete resolutions for the betterment of sports for people with disabilities.

“We need pragmatic solutions, not mere intentions that yield minimal results,” he asserted. “The time is now for tangible evidence towards enhanced inclusion and social transformation in our society.”

Only 1 percent

Rakgare expressed concern over the low participation of people with disabilities in sports, noting that they make up only 1 percent of participants in AUSC Region 5.

He called for bold steps and transformative actions to ensure that people with disabilities can thrive in all spheres of life, including sports and recreation.

“The resolutions of this conference should serve as a testament to the collective agreement of all stakeholders present to contribute towards a positive difference in inclusion, balance, and social justice,” he said.

Vulnerable constituencies 

“These resolutions must guide all member countries, overarching stakeholders, and other partners on effectively implementing sports and sustainable development programmes aimed at enhancing inclusion.”

Minister Rakgare also pledged that the Region 5 Council of Ministers would ensure implementation of the conference resolutions.

“Our desire is to build and sustain a Region that is sensitive to the needs of its women, girls and vulnerable constituencies, including people with disabilities,” he noted.

“We remain resolute in striving to build a society that is tolerant and respectful of all human beings, treating them with love and dignity.”