The concept of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) was borne from the idea of developing sporting icons in South Africa to promote national pride and unity. The initial vision was generated after extensive interaction between Morné du Plessis, Professor Tim Noakes and Johann Rupert. Their goal was to provide a facility that would primarily fund research and apply that research to sport, so that athletes of all disciplines could improve their performance. These visionaries also wanted to build public interest in the country’s top sportsmen and women, whose success would create shared pride in South Africa.
This ambitious thinking resonated in the hearts of many, and the SSISA received the support of numerous donors, including: Remgro Ltd, Pick n Pay Holdings Ltd, Sanlam Ltd, Goldfields Ltd, SAB Miller PLC, Sasol Ltd and Nissan. Construction work began in Newlands in 1992 and we opened our doors in August 1995.
What made the SSISA vision even more unique, was that it involved the relocation of a university faculty and the development of related activities that would be financially self-sustaining.
Today, the University of Cape Town (UCT) Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM), headed by Professor Vicki Lambert, is still housed at the Sports Science Institute of SA. This strategic alliance with UCT, allows for the interaction between our various services and the research and teaching team of ESSM. It is this synergy and the ability to design and deliver a product from inception to the market place – that distinguishes us from similar institutions or organisations.