After 1992, The South African government went to great lengths to right the wrongs of apartheid in sport. While positive, these were usually once off initiatives with more PR value than long-term benefits. The sad reality is that once a talented individual completes school they are highly unlikely to realise their full potential on the sports field. The cost of transport, equipment and lack of adequate facilities has made it extremely difficult for youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds to excel and further improve their skills. So it is not surprising that transformation has not been achieved. Where it has, it has not been at the pace and scale we all had hoped for 20 years ago.

While we strongly believe the government should do more to aid transformation, we feel compelled to do our bit as well. This is why Sporting Chance’s prime objective is to provide opportunities for sporting achievement to as many children as possible, irrespective of race, gender or class. We want to get them off the streets and away from social misbehavior and to ignite a passion for sport and physical activity.

Calypso Beach Cricket is a Sporting Chance initiative, which takes place on South African beaches during the festive season, with 8 000 young boys and girls taking part. For the past 24 years this programme has resulted in over 40 participants being given the opportunity to play provincial cricket at school level and others at senior level. Thami Tsolekile is the most successful; having represented the Proteas on a number of occasions and more recently, Temba Bavuma has earned a national call up. Two of Sporting Chance’s current staff members were identified through this programme and given life-changing scholarships to go to a former Model C High School. Currently a young man, Bonga Makaka is attending Wynberg Boys High School on a sporting scholarship provided by the organisation as part of the talent identification initiative. Promising young boys and girls from disadvantaged backgrounds are identified and afforded the opportunity to attend top South African schools, something which is extremely vital in today’s socio-economic climate and dismal education system.

Our Street Cricket programme is a project that could easily be rolled out throughout South Africa in order to encourage mass participation. Over 3 000 children currently take part each year, giving them an opportunity to showcase their cricket abilities. Like all Sporting Chance projects, participation is conditional on the child belonging to a cricket club and attending school, and girls have to be present in each team, to promote gender equality in sports in our country.

Prior to the start of Street Cricket matches, an educational ‘road show’ is initiated to teach the children valuable life skills such as the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle, nutrition, road safety, environmental awareness, sports etiquette and fiscal education.

We have done and continue to do our bit to aid transformation. Now we would like to urge you to also do your part to help create an inclusive community that stands against racism in our beautiful city. Take the pledge!

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