archery

There has been a rising fascination with Turkish culture in South Africa. Image: Wikimedia

A traditional Turkish sport is taking off in South Africa

Traditional Turkish archery, an age-old sport is gaining popularity in South Africa, and a local instructor explains why.

archery

There has been a rising fascination with Turkish culture in South Africa. Image: Wikimedia

Turkey is a country known for its diverse cultures and vibrant sporting scene – which includes traditional archery.

This discipline is now taking root in South African cities, writes Anadolu Agency.

Just south of Johannesburg in Winchester Hills, an archery school dedicated to teaching and promoting traditional Turkish archery is attracting growing interest.

Huthaifa Hassan, the instructor and director of the Home of Archery School in Winchester, has shared insights into the sport.

“In South Africa, archery is starting to attain popularity among all the sports, and Turkish archery is starting to become popular,” he said.

On foot and horseback

Recognised as part of humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2019, traditional Turkish archery is practiced on foot and on horseback, with centuries-old principles, rules, rituals and social practices.

On foot, Turkish archery includes flight shooting, long-distance shooting, darp (pounding) shooting, ‘puta shooting’ and performance shooting.

Hassan attributes his mastery of the sport to a workshop and education program he attended in Turkey in 2022, organised by the Yunus Emre Institute in South Africa.

The Yunus Emre Institute is a world-wide non-profit organisation created by the Turkish government in 2007. It aims to promote Turkey as a country, its language, history, culture and art.

The South African arm of the institute was established in 2017.

In addition to running his own school, Hassan also teaches archery at the International Maarif School in Johannesburg.

While traditional Turkish archery is the highlight, Hassan’s school also offers modern archery courses. “I love archery. It keeps me fit and focused,” says one of his students.

A growing interest in all things Turkish

Abdulaziz Yigit, director of the Yunus Emre Institute in South Africa, said their organisation also teaches archery and that the archery courses are drawing an increasing amount of people.

“There is growing interest in Turkish culture in South Africa. Turkish series are broadcast on local television, and many Turkish institutions have been established in the country,” he said.

Yigit says many students enroll in language courses for business communication or to pursue higher education in Turkey.