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.

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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Sports Trader Helps Masicorp Source Tracksuits for Ukhanyo School

We are very grateful to Sports Trader for their hard work in sourcing tracksuits and other sports kit for the pupils of Ukhanyo School. The full story was recently published on the Sports Trader web site and is reproduced here.

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Sports Trader was humbled and very impressed with the offers of help from industry members when we told them how sport and educations was being used to bring hope to the youngsters in the impoverished Masiphumelele township

Many companies in the sport and outdoor retail industry already invest substantially in CSI projects, but when we heard the inspiring story of the work being done by coach Nceba Jonas and the Masicorp Trust in the impoverished Masiphumelele community (between Kommetjie and Fish Hoek near Cape Town) we took the liberty of asking them to assist with much-needed tracksuits.

We were very grateful and impressed by the many, many offers of assistance we received — especially from Kappa SA, ASICS SA and retailer American Clothing, who were first off the mark to generously offer free donations of tracksuits for community netball teams and their coaches.

Springbok suppliers ASICS SA did not hesitate to respond to our request: “We will certainly see how we can assist and support,” said marketing manager Sarah Mundy. “We do already support other causes, however, given the nature of your request, we will see how we can assist.”

While they did not have complete tracksuits available, Wesley Tam, Core Performance Sports Marketing Executive, supplied hooded tops and tracksuit pants for the coaches.

“As a brand, Kappa SA believes in helping to grow the community of South Africa,” says Ricky Joseph, who donated 14 tracksuits for one netball team. “A project such as this is something that we feel extremely touched by. While kids may have the most amazing skills and attributes, sometimes to look and feel good is as important. We believe that by donating these tracksuits to these athletes we will give them an added ability on and off the field. We want to uplift as many disadvantaged communities as possible and enable even those less fortunate in our country to be able to look and feel the best while competing.”

Kamlesh Chagan, owner of the American Clothing stores in Cape Town, believes in supporting the Southern Peninsula communities that have been supporting his family’s business for the past 50 years, after his father opened their first store in Retreat. “I believe in giving back to organisations that support the communities in the areas where I grew up, who provided our family with an income,” he says.

They receive requests for donations on almost a daily basis and he has become wary of everybody knocking on their doors. But, he does support organisations that are empowering young adults surrounded by influences like drugs, etc. to rather follow a path powered by sport or education, says Chagan. He therefore gladly bought matching tracksuits from Kappa at a special price to donate to another Masiphumelele netball team.

After considering several initiatives, Sports Trader decided to support the Masicorp Trust, which has been providing educational and community-based support to the Masiphumelele township since 1999, where more than 38 000 people live disadvantaged and poor (see www.masicorp.org).

What appealed to us is the fact that the Masicorp Trust focuses on education as the way out of poverty, instead of hand-outs.

But, most of all, we were inspired by the enthusiastic sports organiser who, we believe, deserves as much support as possible. The Masicorp Trust pays the salary of community member coach Nceba Jonas, who chairs the community sports programme and also:

  • With the help of volunteers and in partnership with the NGO Goodsport, runs the physical education programme at Ukhanyo Primary School;
  • In the afternoons he also coaches the primary school teams in soccer, rugby, cricket and netball. They have been doing exceptionally well and often win their matches against sporting schools in this league and the principal’s office is filled with trophies won by the sports teams. Their netball team is the current holders of the Southern Peninsula League Championship title.
  • In addition, coach Nceba is chairman of the Masi community sports council and coaches community teams (who required the tracksuits) at the Fish Hoek Pirates netball and soccer club. And if that is not enough, he also runs aerobics classes in the community hall in the evenings.

The Masiphumelele community is very poor and parents struggle to afford sports kit — the primary school teams have therefore been competing in generic white T-shirts and shorts against well-equipped opponents wearing proper kits.

Coach Nceba has a dream that all his teams will one day be able to meet their opponents wearing proper school team kit, which would give his young learners the confidence to meet other schools on equal footing.