On the 10th December 2014 Cabinet declared an annual National Recreation Day (NRD) on the first Friday of October each year. This provides an opportunity to all South Africans to actively be involved by participating in recreation activities that will improve their health and well-being on the day. The day is not a public holiday but as a day the country must observe, this will mean different sectors of society even in the corporate workplace a conducive environment must be created to promote this day and get employed or individuals in those sectors to be do some form of physical activity.

NRD is therefore a highlight of I choose to be Active Campaign, wherein the country showcases different recreation programmes that can be undertaken by individuals on their own. NRD in terms of the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) is part of our active recreation programme under active nation pillar. Event was launched back in October 2015 and the first event took place in 2nd October 2015 and since then it has been observed as declared by cabinet on the first Friday of October month each year.


The aim is to have the majority of the South African citizens embracing and participating in physical activities in a fun and leisurely fashion and further, create a long-term campaign of improving levels of participation of citizens in active recreation programs for lifelong wellness.


  • To encourage South Africans on the day to set aside and hour to being physically active
  • To encourage Corporate South Africa, Government, Non-Governmental Organisations and Communities to organise themselves on the day to actively recreate and to promote health and physical wellbeing;
  • Individual to pause on the day and self-introspect if they are leaving a healthy and physically active life. Importantly for individuals to commit to changing their habits and lifestyle and choose to be physically active;
  • To showcase a number of active recreation activities that individuals can undertake on their own at minimal cost;
  • To promote the National Recreation Day;
  • To improve the health and well-being of the nation by providing participation opportunities through active recreation;


  • To increase and maintain adequate levels of health enhancing physical activity for all South Africans;
  • To contribute to the achievement of optimal health for all, the complete physical, mental and social wellbeing;
  • To promote active recreation and increase physical activity;
  • Create the environment for physical activities to take place;
  • To promote nation building and social cohesion; and
  • To provide individual personal benefits such as self-fulfilment, building self-esteem and developing personal relations


All Citizens of the republic of South Africa inclusive of staff and families of national government departments.


Currently NRD is delivered by Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) with all its Provincial Departments in all major provincial capitals across the country. Importantly in 2017 through engagements with our partners Love Life and Sport for Social Change Network (SSCN) and institutions of higher learning (Universities and TVET Colleges   it is also taking place in all Love Life Y-centres, NGO’s under the SSCN and some institutions of higher learning in the country. With institutions of higher learning and SSCN some activities take place in different dates to accommodate human capacity and the academic calendar of the specific institution.

We have build-up activations in a number of Institutions of Higher Learning across the country quarterly on different dates. All sixteen Love Life Y-Centres on the day and weekly on Wednesday or Thursday have do activations. Selected SSCN NGO’s in some provinces organizes pre and post NRD activations  


First Friday of October each year and a number of activation prior and post the event.



According to the Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health of World Health Organisation (WHO: 2010) Physical inactivity is now identified as the forth leading risk factors for global mortality. Physical inactivity level is rising in many countries with major implications for the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and the general health of the population worldwide.

South Africa today, like the rest of the globe is facing a variety of challenges, incorporating everything from obesity, overweight, cardiac diseases, diabetes, respiratory ailments, an ageing population, an increase in sedentary lifestyles and therefore loss of personal interaction and fitness, youth unemployment, high levels of violence, and conflict between people (Monyeki, MA,. 2014; Healthy Active Kids SA Report Card). The World Health Organisation:  NCD Country Profile, 2014 estimates that 43% of deaths in South Africa are associated with the NCD, and the risk factors associated with NCD its physical inactivity and obesity. According to Healthy Living Alliance almost 70% of women and 39% of men are overweight in South Africa and the country has the highest obesity rate in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 24) states that all people have basic human right to recreation activities. National Sport and Recreation Plan reinforces this notion that recreation plays a pivotal role in improving the health and wellbeing of an individual, creating liveable communities and promoting social cohesion. Informed by the National Development Plan (NDP) vision 2030 the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) envisage that by 2030 fifty percent (50%) of South Africans will be participating in sport and active recreation. In terms of the Sport and Recreation Strategic Plan 2015 -2020 and its Annual Performance Plan the goal is citizen access to sport and recreation activities and the strategic objective thereof is to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation by providing mass participation opportunities through active recreation.

Recreation is a significant part of any nation’s culture, leisure time, health, economy and education. Individuals involved in physical activity benefit from a significantly enhanced quality of life. It is against this background that recreation is at the core of SRSA programmes, importantly, the declaration of Cabinet for every first Friday of October being a recreation day it’s an opportunity to showcase, promote number of active recreation activities South Africans can undertake for their health and wellbeing and encourage South Africans to be physically active. Since 2015 the National Recreation day has been observed across the country lead by Sport and Recreation Provincial Departments and SRSA. Importantly in 2017, we saw it necessary to also initiate a 365 days campaign “I Choose 2 B Active” which is a call to action to get as many South African’s to be physically active, which NRD is but a highlight of.


The National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) which is a sector plan informed by the National Development Plan (NDP) envisage that by 2030 fifty percent (50%) of all South Africans will be participating in sport and active recreation. Strategic objectives thereof are to facilitate the delivery of active recreation campaigns or programmes as to contribute to improving social cohesion and nation building.


To educate and improve the health and wellbeing of the nation by providing participation opportunities through active recreation to the South African populace.


  • Change of behaviour and attitude towards physical activity. Physical activity and active recreation a lifestyle to majority of South Africans;
  • To encourage a lifestyle ethic of “LIFE LONG WELLNESS amongst South Africans;
  • Change of behaviour for an improved quality of health;
  • Commitment to a habitual routine of regular physical activity by individual citizens
  • A corporate environment which promotes and encourages its employees to engage in active recreation;
  • Promoting active citizenry of motivating peers to join in the movement of long life wellness;
  • An improved quality of life amongst South African who are more conscious about their lives and wellbeing.


  • To drive a call to action targeting multifaceted audience in an effort to rally them to choose to be active;
  • To inform and educate society about the importance of being physically active;
  • To challenge South Africans to be active for one to two hours daily;
  • Eradicate physical inactivity and its harmful effect;
  • To encourage grassroot leaders across the spectrum to encourage communities by leading active recreation activities in their communities.


  • The campaign will target all South Africans of all age groups, race, class and gender.

In targeting all South Africans, we have segmented it into institutions for a more structure approach:

  • Education institution: Early Childhood Development Centres, Schools, Institutions of Higher Learning (Universities, Colleges and Technical and Vocational Education and Training)
  • Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s): Faith and community based organisation, sport and recreation clubs.
  • Corporate South Africa: targeting specific economic sectors.
  • Government: National and Provincial Government Departments; Districts and Local Municipalities. All state and public entities
  • Organised Labour: All registered and recognised trade unions.


A national call to action for life long wellness

  • Identify key strategic partners
  • Mass mobilisation
  • Mobilise society towards a course of active recreation as a habit
  • Mass media
  • Use of direct response mediums
  • Support material


  • Invest in your health. be physically active
  • Exercise regularly
  • Active and fit for life
  • Build physical activity into your daily life…at work, school, home, play… (Active living)
  • If you can, walk to work
  • If you can, cycle to work
  • Take a one hour walk in your neighbourhood daily
  • Join a cycling, dancing or hiking club
  • I work out, care to join in?


South Africans are called to invest in their health and well-being by taking up physical activity. The clarion call is those made by the Brand Ambassadors who beckon for an answer to the question: I choose to be active … How about You?

I Choose 2 B Active…
I choose to step up and take charge of my health and wellness
I choose to commit to a movement of long life wellness
I choose to make healthy the norm in my life!
I choose to encourage YOU to be a part of this lifestyle    
I choose YOU to join me in this physically active lifestyle

I choose YOU to join this movement
I have made this lifestyle choice known to others…how about you?
I choose 2 B Active…How About You?

(All text: Sport & Recreation South Africa)