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Epic Volunteers Honoured at Graduation Ceremony


During the Stellenbosch World Cup and the Absa Cape Epic in March this year seven students, from historically disadvantaged communities, were among the many volunteers to assist with making the events a success. They volunteered as part of the practical element to their Coaching and Administration Skills Development course presented by ETA Colleges and funded by Active Communities Network South Africa.  

The Absa Cape Epic was proud to not only provide them with the platforms to put the skills they had just learnt into action but also to host their graduation ceremony in August. The event’s official charities – the Anna Foundation, the IRONMAN Foundation, the Cape Leopard Trust, Qhubeka and Laureus Sport for Good – all do exceptional work but the close interaction over two weeks with the Active Communities Network students once again brought home how big an impact grass-roots programmes can have on people’s daily lives.

To qualify for the four month, 25 credit NQF Level 5, programme the students had to complete a rigorous selection process and be currently employed or studying in a relevant field. Two of the students, Unathi Msophi and Nonkasa Lucky Ntlantla, for example are employed as the Manager of the BMT Cycling Academy and studying Sports’ Management at ETA respectively. Msophi’s role with the BMT Cycling Academy ties in perfectly with the Absa Cape Epic as the academy is one of the development programmes which has raced for the Exxaro special jersey competition in the past. Msophi’s charges, Luyanda Thobigunya and Baphelele Mbobo, came second in the special jersey race, to the 2018 winners Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou, and will be looking to go one better at next year’s race.

All seven of the students – Beatrice Themane, Andre Afrika, Deon Hendricks, Aubrey Kotze and Chad Conradie, as well as Msophi and Ntlantla – hail from the Stellenbosch area and are already active in community development programmes. During the course they have learnt theoretical coaching skills, to up-skill their existing coaching activities, and the essential administrative expertise to more effectively manage their programmes. It is the Active Communities Network’s belief that by facilitating the personal growth of these young people that they will in turn become forces for positive change within their historically disadvantaged communities.

This sentiment was echoed by Msophi when he addressed the audience at the conclusion of the graduation ceremony: “mountain biking and sport can be a catalyst for change” the young BMT Cycling Academy manager recounted from first-hand experience. “My fellow graduates and I hope that the skills we learnt in achieving this certificate will help us leave a lasting legacy in our communities.”

To aid them and future students like Msophi, Ntlantla, hemane, Afrika, Hendricks, Kotze and Conradie the Absa Cape Epic has committed to hosting Active Communities Network students completing their Coaching and Administration Skills Development course at ETA Colleges annually. During the build-up to and at the Absa Cape Epic the students will put their theoretical sports administration skills into practice and learn first-hand, from industry leaders, what goes into staging a world class event.

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