About Us


To be Africa’s leading interdisciplinary centre of excellence promoting sport as a powerful tool for development, peace, health, wellbeing and social change through high quality research and combining the areas of sports and health sciences and community development and wellness.


The Interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence for Sports Science and Development (ICESSD) is pursuing the following objectives to fulfill its vision:

1. Conduct Productive Research Activities

Establish an inter- and multidisciplinary research and service programme with regular research colloquia, international conferences, exchange and collaboration and research output in the form of publications and conference presentations

2. Teach and Train the Next Generation of Sport Leaders

Provide continuing education opportunities in the field of sport and health sciences and community development and wellness in the form of under and postgraduate programmes as well as certificate courses and annual summer/winter schools for students, clubs, federations, NGOs, government departments, coaches and consultants as well as any others interested in the field

3. Provide High Performance Sports Services

Provide high performance lab and field services to emerging elite athletes and coaches from traditionally underserved communities.

4. Pursue Community Outreach

Establish an inter- and multidisciplinary community service programme with a focus on youth development, health and wellness and professional development, talent identification and coaching assistance, liaising with federations, sport clubs, schools and community organisations and the provision of holistic community sport leaders programmes, internships and participatory research opportunities.

The central mission of the Centre therefore is twofold:

  • To contribute to the understanding and advancement of sport as a tool for development and peace in South Africa and Africa through high quality research, teaching, community engagement and new technologies.
  • The application of sport science to advance the physical, social and economic development and wellbeing of South African and African communities.


Locating itself within the ethos of UWC, the Centre is committed to:

  • seeking cross faculty and transformative approaches to sport and development
  • inter- and multidisciplinarity
  • communal and social engagement, both internally (within the University) and externally (reaching out to other institutions and civil society)
  • locating itself within the African reality and acknowledging the lessons to be learned from the continent
  • promotion of socio-economic transformation and sustainable development
  • upliftment and empowerment of previously disadvantaged groups
  • accountability, transparency, inclusivity and participatory decision-making in all its practices
  • academic rigour and excellence in teaching, research and direct community engagement
  • respecting diversity, especially in terms of race, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion and culture
  • a human-centred approach in research, teaching, training and outreach
  • continuously striving for improvement

Context – The University of the Western Cape

The Centre does not exist in a vacuum. Not only does it function as part of UWC, guided by the University’s ethos and vision; it takes as its point of departure the broader national context as well as the realities of Southern Africa and the African continent as a whole.

UWC has been an important sports development node for South Africa and the Interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence for Sports Science and Development has the potential to have a much bigger impact in this crucial area nationally and on the continent.

The Centre aligns itself with the goals set out in the University’s Mission Statement and the project of building a better society. In particular, it identifies with and seeks through its work to advance the University’s commitment to:

  • excellence in teaching, learning and research;
  • the nurturing of cultural diversity; and
  • responding in critical and creative ways to the needs of a society in transition.

Sports development at and through UWC is a key component in giving effect to our mission and is embedded in the University’s strategic plan. The development of our students, most of whom come from significantly disadvantaged backgrounds, is related to development of the communities they come from.


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