Like many sportsmen in Masiphumelele, Nceba Jonas first passion is football. One evening many years ago as he left football training in Fish Hoek he stopped to watch a game of Netball, and so began an interest in the game that has led to a recent sporting success story for the ladies he now trains. As Ukhanyo’s schools sports coach, Nceba trains girls and boys in basic physical fitness and organized sports.
One of the first sights a visitor gets to see at Ukhnayo is Nceba and the staff putting the various year groups through their paces in the school’s sports area. Throughout the day he takes the children through a series of exercises with help from the Good Sports Trust and Masicorp who have provided funding for various essential fitness equipment. Masicorp also provides funding for transport to tournaments for the teams that Nceba organizes. It is vital to keeping his teams motivated that they get to travel to local tournaments, but is becoming increasingly more difficult to arrange without help as the petrol price climbs, and the local minibus taxis quote ever higher fares.
On 16 June it all paid off for Nceba as his senior netball team brought back their first trophy from a regional tournament in Hout Bay. Many of the team have passed through Nceba’s training programmes from small girls, and some of the team now work in the offices at the school. The event was organized as part of Cape Town’s annual Youth Day celebrations. The date of 16 June is always a public holiday in South Africa as it commemorates the 1975 Soweto Uprising that saw schoolchildren protest against the Apartheid government’s education policy, and eventually spread nationwide.
Nceba takes a team to the tournament every year but this is his first victory. Three years ago they came extremely close, with a 35-33 loss to the home side when the event was held in Mitchell’s Plain. After fighting through the group stages the team won three knockout games this year to eventually make the final. Again they faced the home side but this time overpowered the Hout Bay team 27-8.
Masicorp are pleased to support the physical education initiatives at the school and are delighted to see this victory. In the words of Nelson Mandela: “Sport has the power to unite people in a way that little else can. Sport speaks to people in a language that they can understand, it creates hope where there was once only despair.” In Masiphumelele there is a little more joy right now for the new June 16 Tournament Champions – well done everyone.