Skip to Content

Nike News

Your source for the latest NIKE, Inc. stories

Listening to Communities

The Evolution of the SHAPA Soweto Training Center

How It Started

Nike invests in play because an active generation means a healthier and more equitable future for everyone. And young people need certain things to experience play. They need caring, trained adults who are committed to empowering them. They need the right equipment to be able to confidently play. And above all, they need the opportunity to play, and this includes having access to safe and inclusive spaces in the local community.

SHAPA Soweto was unveiled in the summer of 2010 as one such community of play. It began as a world-class football training facility serving the next generation of footballers in Soweto, a township in South Africa. The approach was straightforward: Organize top-of-the line football clinics to inspire young people through sport, and along the way, teach them important life skills in the form of HIV/AIDS education. The facility’s unique mix of public and private partnerships helped shape a first-rate training ground for more than 20,000 young footballers, launched on the eve of that summer’s pinnacle football tournament in Johannesburg.

How It Evolved

Nike’s investment in South Africa is nothing new. For decades, the company has committed to removing barriers to sport in South Africa and using sport as a tool for education. With partnerships like Grassroots Soccer and Sport for Social Change, Nike has long had a shared relationship with the country built on helping communities thrive.

That’s why a relaunch of SHAPA Soweto was a natural next step, especially when football events like the Soweto Derby reflect a fan culture that’s been blossoming since the 2010 global premier tournament.

Nike Unveils Football Training Facility in Soweto

Opened in 2010, Shapa Soweto was part of Nike’s ongoing commitment to building more equal, inclusive and active communities. As the center reopens, Nike hopes to help young people from Soweto unlock their full potential and to continue to invest in the area.

Relaunched in November 2021, the updated SHAPA Soweto is still a hub for football, and now also includes dedicated spaces for basketball, running, training, dance, judo and skateboarding. We know communities are made better when young people are given the creative freedom to discover the activities that move them, in sport and in life. That’s the intent behind the revamped center: Create a place where young people can find sports that match their interests.

The original vision to facilitate local partnerships has also expanded with the reopening. As part of Nike’s Made to Play commitment to get kids moving, SHAPA will deliver the Active Afterschools program to more than 300 kids across a range of sports, like football and running. Masai AC, an athletics club founded by middle-distance runner Caster Semenya, will also have a dedicated training space at SHAPA Soweto, building on Semenya’s vision to make running and education more accessible to disenfranchised youth. Other partners include Tarryn “TNT” Alberts for dance, Banesa for yoga, and Girls Skate South Africa.

“Before SHAPA, we knew that we could help provide access to sport for young people in the area, but we didn’t have the proper infrastructure. No place to train was the main barrier we faced. SHAPA is what we needed,” says Semenya, speaking to her own experience growing up. “Now that it’s back, young people will be able to surround themselves with the right people and the right structure to explore different sports.”

Factor in plenty of open-layout workspaces, a makers’ studio, and a community garden, and young people will find a versatile, encouraging place to create relationships, chase their goals and fuel new futures.