Cheetham award will benefit Kwanobuhle

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

More than 700 children from 23 primary schools will benefit from a R500000 windfall from Murray & Roberts, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee and Sowetan.

The newspaper has made the award a part of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.

The three organisations are the organisers and sponsors of the Jack Cheetham Memorial Award. The overall winner of the R500000 prize over the next five years is the Kwanobuhle Hockey Development Programme near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

The award was given to Kwanobuhle programme in recognition of its excellent and significant influence on the community.

The second-placed winner is the Irene Tennis Development Programme, which is a part of SA Tennis Association.

The Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club took third place.

In all, there were 20 candidates specialising in development of sporting codes including archery, athletics, canoeing, cricket, gymnastics, golf, hockey, tennis and judo.

As with last year's overall winners - the Nelson Mandela Township (Nemato) Rowing Club, who are also based in Eastern Cape - Kwanobuhle operates from an impoverished area.

Kwanobuhle is led by visionary teacher Gary Dolley, coach Jeremy Mambalu and a team of dedicated volunteers, most of whom are schoolteachers.

Over the past few years, these committed people have boosted the transformation of the once dormant Kwanobuhle Multipurpose Sports and Community Development Centre into a thriving hub of sports development and community participation.

Dolley, Mambalu and the teachers are collaborating with 25 primary schools that cater for more than 750 children. They offer professional hockey coaching and encourage competitive participation in regional league contests.

Six teams participate in the Eastern Province Schools Hockey League where they compete against more privileged schools. The girls under-11 team is unbeaten as is the boys under-13 team in the local LoveLife Games.

l The Jack Cheetham Memorial Award was initiated by Murray & Roberts 25 years ago in recognition of the special qualities of Jack Cheetham, a former director of the company and the inspirational captain of the South African cricket team in the 1950s.

Cheetham instilled in young people the belief that they could be winners if they worked hard.

In recent years, the Jack Cheetham Memorial Award has targeted sports development projects, focusing on individuals or teams that have the potential to be champions.