Currently viewing: Previous winners / Letsema / Next: Media centre / Press releases


2018 Letsema Award

  Made for More

Made for More aims to empower and equip people who are differently abled. Founded in 2016 by Julia van Zyl, the organisation uses sport as a vehicle to bring hope, build relationships and instil morals and values, while providing athletes with opportunities to pursue their sporting careers.

Made for More’s mission is to guide and empower differently-abled communities to discover their abilities, worth and purpose. They do this through differently-abled sport, mentorship programmes, leadership and sports camps, and career guidance.

The organisation currently has 185 athletes across a diverse range of sporting codes including adaptive surfing, Wushu and blind soccer.

  South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled – Boccia

SASAPD was established in 1962 and provides the opportunity for people with disabilities to participate in sport. The organisation presents a number of sporting codes including Boccia, which was started in South Africa in 2002.

Boccia is a sport for persons with cerebral palsy and the severely disabled, and has participation across seven provinces.

SASAPD aims to facilitate accessible and equitable sporting opportunities for people with disabilities to empower and improve their quality of life.

  Thuthukani Special School

Thuthukani Special School was founded in 1981 and provides holistic education for learners with severe to profound intellectual disabilities. Located in Empangeni, the school currently accommodates 419 learners from mostly impoverished families.

The school aims to build the learners self-esteem and functional ability so that they leave the school as independent as possible and equipped with skills they can use to contribute to their communities.

An active sport and cultural programme provides the opportunity for Thuthukani learners to compete against both disabled and abled learners which assists in better community inclusion.

2017 Letsema Award

  Judo Institute for People with Special Needs

Judo Institute for People with Special Needs was established in 2009 and aims to inspire blind, visually impaired, physically disabled, and deaf and intellectually impaired children from underprivileged communities in the Eastern Cape.

The institute uses judo to restore confidence and self-esteem, instil discipline as well as provide mentorship and life skills.

  Mustang Wheelchair Rugby

Mustang Wheelchair Rugby was formed in June 2011 and aims to develop wheelchair rugby as a sport in South Africa and to demonstrate how it can impact on and improve the well-being of people living with disabilities.

  South African Transplant Sports Association

The South African Transplant Sports Association was established in 1994 as a centre for transplant athletes. Its vision is to optimise the quality of life of organ transplant recipients, and through sports and other physical activities, promote organ donation and transplantation.


2016 Letsema Award

  Rowing South Africa – Rowing for the Disabled

Para-Rowing is a project of Rowing South Africa and has achieved great success. It is an inclusive sport in that rowers can participate and train as exclusively disabled rowers but they are also able to compete with and against able-bodied rowers.

Rowing South Africa has a mass participation programme including both indoor and water rowing programmes and have elite para-rowers, with two crews having qualified to participate at the Paralympics in 2016.

  Northern Cape Sport Association for the Physically Disabled

The organisation was established in 1979 with the aim of improving opportunities for people with physical disabilities to participate in sport and promotes sport for physically disabled people at both a junior and senior level through development and elite training programmes.

  Frances Vorwerg School Sports Programme

Francis Voorweg is a school for learners with special needs, primarily accommodating children with cerebral palsy but also those with ADHD.


2015 Letsema Award


  Wheelchair Tennis South Africa

The programme consists of an introduction to the sport at interested clubs, then offers weekly group coaching and equipment.  Players who perform well are introduced to competition at regional and national level and then progressing to participation at international events. Wheelchair tennis improves the quality of life of disabled athletes by offering opportunities, experiences and role models and showcases South Africa’s best disabled athletes.

First Runner Up

  Fulton School

The Fulton School caters for learners with special needs, specifically children who are deaf, intellectually impaired and autistic.  The school was established in 1959 and is located in Kwa-Zulu Natal and accommodates 110 learners from across the country.

Second Runner Up

  National Association for Blind Bowlers – Ekurhuleni Region

The Ekurhuleni region formed from the split of the Central Gauteng region and caters for bowlers across the East Rand.  NAAB Ekurhuleni provides opportunity for the visually impaired to participate in the game of lawn bowls as well as promoting the sport to other disabled persons. 


2014 Letsema Award


Free State Sports Association for the Physically Disabled and Visually Impaired   Free State Sports Association for the Physically Disabled and Visually Impaired

The association was established with the aim of supporting children with disabilities to access and excel across a variety of sporting codes including athletics, boccia, para cycling, goal ball, swimming and cerebral palsy soccer. Most of the children come from disadvantaged communities and are identified through partnerships with schools for learners with special needs.  The association provides an opportunity for disabled athletes to participate in sport nationally and internationally.

First Runner Up

Flairs Sports Academy   Flairs Sports Academy

The Flairs vision is to see a generation of young people reaping the benefits of a disciplined and healthy lifestyle by using gymnastics as a tool to improve discipline, team work, respect and self-confidence. The academy will introduce a Gymnastics for Children with Disabilities programme to Tembaletu School in Guguletu, which is the only special needs school to be found in a township in the Western Cape.

Second Runner Up

Metro Eagles Sports Club   Metro Eagles Sports Club

Metro Eagles Sports Club provides learners with disabilities an opportunity to participate in sport.  Athletes are recruited from four local schools, catering for children with intellectual impairment, in the Nelson Mandel Metropolitan Municipality. The children participate in cricket, athletics and soccer and the club provides an alternative to crime, drugs and abuse, teaching them to believe in themselves.


2013 Letsema Award


Winner: Mandeville Aquatics Disability Swimming Centre of Excellence   Mandeville Aquatics Disability Swimming Centre of Excellence

The Mandeville Aquatics Disability Swimming Centre of Excellence’s mission is the development of swimming in Central Gauteng’s disabled communities with a focus on previously disadvantaged children.  The Centre of Excellence identifies talented swimmers and develops them to a level where they can compete successfully at National and Paralympics level with the objective of developing South Africa’s first black Paralympics swimming medallist.

First Runner Up

First Runner Up: Wheelchair Basketball South Africa Disabled   Wheelchair Basketball South Africa Disabled

Wheelchair Basketball is not just a game, but a way of life for many disabled sports men and women.  Wheelchair Basketball provides a platform for athletes to develop their abilities and skill through the growth of wheelchair basketball clubs and leagues and aims to encourage participation and awareness across provinces, in communities and schools, with the goal of identifying high performance athletes for selection to the National Team.

Second Runner Up

Second Runner Up: South Africa Wheelchair Rugby   South Africa Wheelchair Rugby

Wheelchair Rugby is the only full contact sport for people living with severe disabilities and caters for both men and women.  South Africa Wheelchair Rugby competes in the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation Championship and encourages participation across all disabled communities.  The South Africa Wheelchair Rugby National Team aims to develop their athletes in order to qualify for the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil.

2012 Letsema Award


  Shumbashaba Horses Helping People

For more than ten years, Shumbashaba Horses Helping People has offered formerly disadvantaged people from the township of Diepsloot access to the therapeutic power of horses. Shumbashaba’s community outreach programmes offer therapeutic riding for people with severe disabilities and equine assisted growth and learning to heal and empower hundreds of South African children who struggle with poverty, limited education and unemployment and face crime, violence and drug and alcohol abuse daily. Shumbashaba also sponsors the riding tuition of disadvantaged children, providing them with the opportunity to participate in equestrian competitions for riders with disabilities. The Shumbashaba coaches have represented South Africa in administrative and coaching roles and their expertise is passed on to staff who are empowered in the process.

First Runner Up

  Rowing for the Physically Disabled

Adaptive rowing is sweep rowing or sculling for people with physical disabilities such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, visual impairment, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and spinal bifida. Rowing South Africa has introduced a national adaptive rowing programme in South African schools and universities to give young people with disabilities an opportunity to participate in the sport. The programme incorporates development, talent identification and high performance training and benefits significantly from the adaptive rowing expertise of international coach, Marco Galeone. Sandra Khumalo, who was paralysed in a car accident seven years ago, is an excellent role model for young participants, having represented South Africa in the 2012 London Paralympics.

Second Runner Up

  Judo Institute for Special Needs

In 2009, the Judo Institute for Special Needs was initiated by Sondisa Magajana at the Khanyisa School for the Blind in Port Elizabeth to give 63 visually impaired children an opportunity to participate in sport. The programme then expanded to schools for deaf, physically impaired and intellectually impaired children, offering judo training five days a week and life skills training in career guidance, nutrition, animal outreach in partnership with the SPCA and awareness of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. The institute has achieved good results, with participants winning medals in national Judo championships for the disabled and some even competing successfully in competitions for the able-bodied.