ACCORD partners with the AU in Peace Torch ceremony at African Cup of Nations

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ACCORD partnered with the Africa Union (AU) on Saturday, 19 January 2013, by sponsoring twenty two children (both boys and girls) from Alexandra in Gauteng, South Africa, to participate in the Peace Torch Ceremony during the opening ceremony of the African Cup of Nations. The children were selected from the Alexandra Football Association, which runs football and other activities for young children from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and impoverished homes.

Alexandra, or Alex, the oldest historically black township in South Africa and one of the poorest, was established 1912. It was also the home of several anti-Apartheid activists such as President Samora Machel (the late President of Mozambique), Zanele Mbeki (wife of former South African President Thabo Mbeki); Hugh Masekela; former South African President and current Deputy President Kgalema Mothlante, and Irvin Khoza, among others. The Alex Football association is managed by former football players, administrators and others who volunteer their services to coach children and to teach them life skills such as art and wood-work.

ACCORD supports the important role that sport can play in the promotion of peace and nation building. In 2011 ACCORD partnered with the AU and the Michael Essien Foundation to celebrate Africa Day (25 May) by hosting an international Peace Day Soccer match in Ghana that received wide international media coverage. The match was a success in the promotion of peace through sport. In 2010 the AU declared 2010 the Year of Peace and Security. Michael Essien, an international soccer player and a Ghanaian national, is an AU Peace Ambassador. The soccer match was a commitment made in 2010, to be held on Africa Day in 2011. ACCORD flew out international reggae star, Ibo Cooper, who played at the 2010 Africa Peace Award in Durban when it was awarded to the Nation of Sierra Leone, to perform a Peace Song before the start of the match. In 2011 ACCORD also published a Special Issue of it's Conflict Trends Magazine called "Playing for Peace".