Let’s Play at Ukhanyo School

Let’s Play is a corporate social responsibility initiative developed by SuperSport and partners to make more children passionate about sport and schools to encourage physical education. Children in South Africa are perceived as becoming alarmingly inactive and many schools do not even include Physical Education (PE) in their curriculum.   At Ukhanyo Primary School in Masiphumelele each child takes part in PE activities at least once a week. Their coach, Nceba Jonas (sponsored by Masicorp) works hard to instil a love of sporting activities in all the children under his care. The newly constructed sports court and sprint track at the school have greatly enhanced these sessions of course!

LETS-PLAY-2012-SiyadlalaThe Let’s Play Competition focusses on Grade 4 primary school children and has been developed to encourage and enhance a child’s physical skills of balance, agility, speed and co-ordination.   The incentive to the participating schools is the prize of a brand new sports court valued at R1.1m.    Children from all over South Africa take part each year and this year Ukhanyo Primary School entered for the first time.

A prior date set aside in April had to be postponed due to heavy wind and rain, but notification came through two weeks ago that a new date was set for the competition.   A number of Grade 4’s were chosen to take part and feverish preparations took place during the ensuing PE sessions.

There was thus great excitement at Ukhanyo Primary School on Friday morning 12 August.  The Let’s Play crew arrived to set up and as it was raining heavily, initially said that they could not run the competition as planned.   There was deep disappointment from all the assembled Grade 4 learners, so we scooped them up and drove them all to KFC for chips and Coke.   While on the way there a call came through to say “Come back! – we can do it after all”!

With tummies lacking chips and Coke (thankfully) they hurried back to school and re-assembled under the cover of the school hall (it was still raining lightly) and waited patiently while the obstacle course was set up. A great deal of explanation then took place, followed by demonstrations and practices. The course was deliberately complex and covered a number of key aptitudes that it became clear, are difficult for the children to grasp first time around. The boys and girls lined up separately and they were off, throwing and catching a rugby ball while jumping into coloured hoops, then a series of hopping over bars, rolling a soccer ball  and then a ‘potato race’ of sorts involving strict sequences. Each child took part twice and received a sticker after each go to avoid any avoidance or duplication.  In fact all the children were mad keen to take part!

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Coach Nceba played a critical part on the day and learnt from the whole exercise as did the Ukhanyo Primary School teachers who attended. The good news is that we scored well above average and the Grade 4’s of next year will be able to take part again, with a similar course, so Nceba will now be able put his PE classes through their paces with his new insight into the skills and concepts incorporated into the competition by the Let’s Play team.

We wait with bated breath to hear how Ukhanyo Primary School fared in comparison with other Western Cape schools who entered.

Maintaining the New Ukhanyo School Running Track

The new sports court and sprint track are up and running at Ukhanyo School. If you missed the video of the first set of sprints on the new surface you can catch up with the action HERE.

trackTo ensure that the surface is kept in perfect condition the suppliers informed the school that a high-powered blower or mechanical sweeper should be used to remove abrasive sand and grit from the surface. In the dusty environment of the school’s sports area such maintenance would help extend the useful life of the new surface. This is not something that the school (or Masicorp) had access to so we would like to extend a big thank you to Tool Hire and Sales Solutions (Sun Valley) MD Marc De Rooy who stepped in to provide a suitable machine. After visiting the site to check what was needed, they were able to provide a top notch Stihl BG56 hand held re-chargeable leaf blower, which Stihl and Tool Hire and Sales Solutions are sponsoring.  Marc has also kindly offered to give Melvin the school caretaker a lesson in how to operate it.

Carol Hanks and Penny Ramahloko from Masicorp called in yesterday to collect the new leaf blower. Penny is seen here collecting the equipment from Leigh Ann Burger, marketing director at Tool Hire and Sales Solutions. Our thanks to everyone at Tool Hire and Sales Solutions and Stihl for their generosity and help with making sports provision at Ukhanyo School possible.

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Elize’s Challenge for Ukhanyo Sports Field

After completing a number of long distance running events in recent years, including the Comrades Marathon on a number of occasions, this year Masicorp fundraiser Elize Taylor is tackling trail running. Elize has set herself a sponsorship target of R25,000 and is well on the way to reaching her goal.

24061056_22361Although still very much a novice she has been in training for several months and recently completed the first of three major events this year – AfricanX, which is held annually in the mountains around Elgin. The event was split into three stages, with Stage 1 covering a total distance of 36km and reaching a total ascent of 900m. Stage 2 covered 34km, but the total ascent on this leg of the race was 1100m, while Stage 3 saw the athletes covering a total distance of 22km with a total ascent of 800m. It sounds daunting but Elize completed it all with a time of 16 hours, 29 minutes and 12 seconds over the three days.

Next up (June 13th) is the Transfrontier Richtersveld trail run, which sounds even more daunting at 200km over 5 days. This race extends from South Africa to Namibia through the ancient arid landscape of the Ai Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.

24059770_22363All funds raised are going towards Masicorp’s project to upgrade Ukhanyo Primary School’s sports field, which we discussed in our previous blog.  Masicorp has an excellent relationship with Ukhanyo Primary School, which takes all 1,600 of the township’s children aged 6 to 14. With Masicorp’s assistance the school has developed teaching facilities that are a benchmark for township schools, but their sports facilities remain limited. Masicorp have been successful in providing sports equipment and kits for the soccer, netball and cricket teams. However, the school sports field is in a terrible condition, and in places it is an uneven sandpit filled with rubble and broken glass. Masicorp have drawn up plans for a complete renovation. The first stage is to level the field, remove the rubble and prepare it for the construction of a multi-purpose sports field that can be used for netball, soccer and cricket. This is now complete but funds are urgently need to complete phase II, which involves the laying of turn and completion of a running track.

You can help Elize by contributing toward her project HERE.

Improving the Sports Facilities at Ukhanyo Primary School

Masicorp has had a sports programme in place at Ukhanyo Primary School for many years. Physical education is a crucial part of every child’s learning experience and we recognise that involvement in sport develops skills such as discipline, commitment, punctuality and loyalty, as well the health benefits. Our assistance has part funded the salary of Nceba Jonas, the local community coach, provided training equipment and transport to inter-schools competitions on a regular basis. Each child now receives two physical education (PE) lessons each week.

fieldThere is one very serious obstacle preventing the further expansion of sporting activity at Ukhanyo – the physical space available for sports is small and of poor quality. We have therefore started an ambitious plan to improve the situation by refurbishing existing facilities and seeking funding to develop the unoccupied land within the school boundary that is currently used as a playing field. The land was originally backfilled with builder’s rubble and covered with sand making it unsuitable for playing sports.

The first phase of the project – the refurbishment and remarking of existing facilities – is almost complete. We are currently undergoing fundraising for the next phase, which will see the development of the new multi-purpose sports courts and the laying of a new turf surface to the sports field.

A significant sum was recently raised by our UK team in an event that appropriately13010813_10154766652309167_6414238460217946362_n involved some well-known sportsmen from the rugby world. Our thanks go to UK fundraiser Alan McKelvey for recently hosting an evening with Ruan Pienaar (Ulster and South Africa international rugby scrum half) and Robbie Diack (Ulster and Ireland international rugby forward), who talked about life in South Africa and Ulster. The event was held at Belfast Harlequins Rugby Club and organised by Lisburn Rotary Club. Alan was the interviewer for an evening that saw over 100 people attend.

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As can be seen from the above picture of the meal time entertainment – the Lagan Sea Horses Male Voice Choir, the event was very much South African themed. The meal was complemented with South African wine and the diners enjoyed either an African stew or Cape Malay cuisine. Our thanks to everyone who attended and helped raise funds that will now go toward the second phase of the Ukhanyo sports field project – and of course our thanks to Ruan and Robbie seen here during the event.

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An Update from AWOL Tours

Back in November 2014 we were delighted to report on a formal partnership with AWOL Tours, who run bicycle based tours of Masiphumelele from the BEN bicycle shop in the township. AWOL generously agreed to donate R50 per paying guest on each of their tours, which is used to support early childhood development projects in the community. After a successful summer season we are pleased to report the donations received have exceeded R18,000.

cycle tour

The funds are used to support our Seedlings program that provides support to the pre-school children in the community, including the school visited on the cycle tour. In particular, the funds received so far have been used to support our “stay & play” initiative. The scheme is a mother & toddler club held at the Masiphumelele library. The funds from AWOL provide craft materials, equipment and the costs of support staff from the community.food

As part of the tour, AWOL guests also visit some of Masicorp’s business entrepreneurs including Nonny’s bakery for refreshments and Ndileka Biyo at the Pink house for souvenirs.

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Our relationship was further strengthened when AWOL recently employeIMG-20150520-WA0001d Zizipho Silwana as a sales consultant at their office in the V&A Waterfront. Zizi is a graduate from our bursary program and recently completed her studies in HR Management at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Zizi is seen here with her mother at her graduation ceremony in March of this year.

Hopefully it is a great help to have a resident of Masiphumelele to talk to potential clients at the offices. If you have not done the tour yourself yet why not call in for a chat with Zizi and book a place? There are more details on the cycle tour – and online availability checks – on the AWOL website HERE.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with AWOL and our thanks to all the tourists who take time to visit Masiphumelele on their travels through South Africa.

Fair Trade Footballs for Masiphumelele

You do not have to spend much time in Masiphumelele to realise how popular a game of soccer is among the locals. Long-time UK-based Masicorp supporter Rachel Bohannon was well aware of this when she recently visited Cape Town for a conference. Before heading back home she called into Masiphumelele to drop off a donation of fair trade footballs. Sue Alexander at the library introduced her to the Fish Hoek Pirates, who run teams from youth to adult level (including ladies) with players drawn from across Masiphumelele.

Rachel and Sue are seen here delivering the footballs to the Pirates committee members on a training night at Sun Valley School. They handed over a range of different sized footballs – from youth to adult.

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FT FootballImportantly, all of the footballs are fair trade certified. The mass manufacture of sporting equipment has unfortunately been associated with very low wages, unfair working conditions and child labour. These footballs were all made for fair wages in Pakistan under the international Fair Trade scheme. Read more about the story of fair trade footballs HERE.

Can you help?

Rachel has many more footballs back in the UK just waiting to be delivered to needy sports clubs in Masiphumelele. Please get in touch if you visiting from the UK and have space to bring over a few footballs. They are all deflated and safely packaged to minimise the space required (see picture below).

packed ball

Netball Success in Masiphumelele

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.

Nceba and trophyOne 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.

winning team