Friday, September 25, 2015

Industry rallies to support Masi

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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 (a township between Kommetjie and Fish Hoek near Cape Town) we took the liberty of asking retailers and suppliers to help assist them with much-needed tracksuits.
Coach Nceba Jonas flanked by Carol Hanks and Fran Loudon of the Masicorp Trust.
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 two community netball teams and their coaches.

These will be worn this weekend during the major community sports tournament coach Nceba and his committee organised in Masiphumelele, where four Orlando Pirates players will inspire the township’s youths to dream about a sporting life that will take them far beyond the poverty they grew up in.
Carol Hanks from the Masicorp Trust receives the coaches’ hoodies and pants from Wesley Tam of Asics SA.
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.
Ricky Joseph and David Abramsohn of Kappa SA with one of the tracksuits they donated.
“As a brand, Kappa SA believes in helping to grow the community of South Africa,” says Ricky Joseph, who donated 14 tracksuits for the 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 unfortunate in our country to be able to look and feel the best while competing.”
Retailer Kamlesh Chagan of American Clothing hands over the Kappa tracksuits he donated to coach Nceba Jonas.
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.
Several wall posters made by pupils, parents and teachers reflect the solid grounding the Ukhanyo Primary School in Masiphumelele offers its pupils.
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 What appealed to us is the fact that the Masicorp Trust focuses on education as the way out of poverty, instead of hand-outs.

At the Ukhanyo Primary School (1 650 pupils) in Masiphumelele they help provide teacher, coach and learner training, facilities like maths, science and language labs, and equipment to promote education as a way to a better future.  This offers the young people an alternative to gangsterism and drugs.
These posters reflect the pride everybody takes in the Ukhanoyo Primary school, supported by the Masicorp Trust.
But, most of all, we were inspired by the enthusiastic sports organiser who, we believe, deserves as much support as possible – and therefore we called on members of the industry. 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 (who train sport coaches and educators), runs the Physical Education Programme at Ukhanyo Primary School, offering each child at least two periods of PE per week;
  • 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.
  • The two primary school netball teams recently swept the board at a Muizenberg Tournament and at another netball tournament, Ukhanyo was victorious against Red Hill and Ocean View teams.
  • Late afternoons, coach Nceba coaches community netball (who require the tracksuits) and soccer teams. 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 kitted out in proper school team kit, which would give his young learners the confidence to meet other schools on equal footing.

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