Township school gets a sporty surprise
Written by Yazeed Kamaldien
Sports minister Fikile Mbalula encouraged young township girls yesterday to hold on to their virginity and get involved in school sports.
Mbalula was talking to learners at iQhayiya High School in Khayelitsa where he handed over sports equipment.
“You must keep your virginity and not play around. If not, you will be a spent force and nobody will want you. Don’t fall for cars and a flashy lifestyle,” he said to bursts of laughter and applause.
“And when you’re a boy, enjoy your youth. Play hard. Don’t drown yourself in drugs. Smoking dagga is fashionable and guys carry knives. After ten years these guys will be old crooks looking for grants from the government.”
He added: “You are the next generation. Pick up the baton and move on. This school must compete in national competitions. I’m sure you’ll want to be there. Make your school proud.”
Mbalula is in Cape Town to present to Parliament the sport and recreation department’s annual budget vote on Thursday. Prior to that, he is visiting schools to hand them sports kits and other activities to “profile the work of the department.”
“We promote sport because we want talent… This is what we are spending your tax money on. We are spending it on you,” Mbalula added.
He also told the youngsters that a “role model is not somebody on TV each day with no substance.”
“This is someone of substance. He just won a marathon. He beat other athletes,” he told learners when he introduced marathon runner Lusapho April.
April had just returned from Germany where he had won a marathon race. He had participated in last year’s Olympic Games in London.
Gary Kirsten, the Cape Town-based coach of the national circket team, was also at the school. Mbalula presented both athletes with gifts; Kirsten received framed photos of himself with young sportsperson and April walked off with new running shoes.
Kirsten motivated the learners to stay active in sports.
“I began playing sport as a three-year-old. It’s been a privilege to be a sportsperson all my life. I encourage those who are interested in sport to take it seriously. It will give you an opportunity to pursue your life meaningfully,” he said.
“As a 14-year-old, I was offered drugs by a close friend. And I made the decision not to (take drugs) because I loved sport.”
He added: “I’m a retired international cricketer. I’ll make sure to help that you guys get good facilities. I have no doubt there’s a lot of talent in Khayelitsha. You just need these facilities.”
Tsepo Majake, the school’s acting principal, said they wanted to “focus on the head, the hand and the heart” of learners.
“We are participating in several sports leagues. We still need to register our school in cricket. We didn’t have the equipment or budget to buy equipment,” he said.
“We are a no-fee school. We ask parents to make contributions because 60% of them are unemployed.”
Majake said learners participated in school sports during the day but not after school hours as gangsterism in the area meant learners did not feel safe to stay at school after hours.