Cricket South Africa (CSA), the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Senwes joined arms in the pursuit of their shared vision of promoting holistic development when they handed over a cricket facility and mobile kitchen to Rabana Primary School in Ventersdorp on Friday.
In a fruitful partnership that has been ongoing for years, CSA and the DBE have an operational agreement aimed at fast-tracking the growth of development cricket in schools countrywide. In recent years, the DBE alongside CSA have combined their efforts to equip and operationalise more than 50 Hubs and Regional Performance Centres (RPC) which in turn help develop cricketers playing at the Hubs, RPCs and Academies and the running of the school leagues within the identified Hubs.
In what was a momentous event for the public school situated near the farms of Klipplaatdrif in the North West province, the Department also announced the official handover of a mobile kitchen. In a programme dating back to 2009, the DBE has supplied schools with converted shipping containers that have been modified into fully equipped kitchens.
The cricket nets, which were provided by Senwes as part of the Senwes Farm School Project, will play a pivotal role in unearthing and developing cricketers from disadvantaged areas.
CSA Chief Executive, Thabang Moroe, emphasized the importance of this project and the existing relationship between CSA and its partners to grow the game.
“It’s a really special occasion for the school, CSA, the DBE, Senwes and the National Lottery Commission, as well as North West Cricket Union. For us as CSA, we are eager to honour the promise that we made to the rest of the country which is, in our vision, to ensure that the rest of the country does have access to the sport and that we are seen in all corners of this country.
“It’s up to us, as CSA, to reach out to the excellent network of partners that we have and bring them to these farm schools to show them what we, the DBE and Senwes have done and hope they too, will also assist and in partnering with us and doing bit more,” Mr Moroe continued.
“It’s important to give the kids coming from these vastly rural areas an alternative in terms of life opportunities. The same way that I received a cricket scholarship and today, I stand here as a CEO within cricket.”
The mobile kitchen, which will be responsible for offering lunches to the pupils and staff at the school, plays an integral role in assisting the delivery of the department’s National School Nutrition Programme, which sees over nine million learners receive a nutritious meal at school daily.
“This initiative is one of the most important within government as it makes a huge difference to the children, improves their health and helps ensure they come to school,” Dr Granville Whittle, DBE Acting Director-General said during the handover. “We know that when we serve these meals at the school, the attendance goes up, so it’s one of the flagship programmes.
“Physical activity is key for one to stay healthy and participate in school. Our relationship with CSA spans many years but over the last ten years, through the Hub system, we have expanded our relationship. We are very proud, as DBE, that you now begin to see many young black cricketers coming through the talent pipeline and ending up in the Proteas and we believe it is linked to the work we do at schools like this one,” Dr Whittle concluded.
Rabana Primary School Principal, Susan van Jaarsveld, thanked all the partners involved, explaining how this initiative will be beneficial to the kids at school.
“It’s a very special and happy day for the school and me, personally. We have waited a long time for these facilities. I have been the principal here for 22 years and we have been a part of the Senwes project for the last 13 years and now everything is happening. We are so thankful, and everybody must know how this will help develop these kids. Just seeing their faces, they can’t wait to be out there in the cricket nets,” Van Jaarsveld added.
“Our school feels important now, since the first visit in November last year when Dr Whittle promised us the kitchen and Max Jordaan, the cricket facilities. It means a lot to us and it will surely uplift the spirit of the kids, as well.”