South Africa Tour 2017
12 September 2017
The students who are all part of one of the school’s four Sporting Academies (Football, Rugby, Netball and Dance), had been fundraising for two years to enable the trip to take place. Events such as a fashion show, supermarket bag packing, and a Race Night all raised a significant amount of money for the trip and the fundraising efforts Culminated with a prestigious Sportsman’s Dinner at Preston Grasshoppers., with former Sale Sharks, England, British and Irish Lions rugby star, Mark Cueto attending as the guest speaker.
During the 10 day South African adventure students stayed with host families, playing matches against schools and clubs in the areas they visited as well as trips to Table Mountain, going on safari and giving back to the local community by visiting The Legacy Community Development Centre.
Below some of our students share their highlights:
Table Mountain: Adam McCaffery Rugby Academy
After a long flight we arrived in Cape Town and walked out of the airport to a view of Table Mountain. On the coach we passed some very beautiful spots but also some parts that pulled on the heart strings. We arrived at the base of table mountain and were personally I was petrified as I have has bad experiences with cable cars before which has put me off ever wanting to go on them again. Finally we made it to the front of the queue and boarded the cable car. I was terrified and gripped the pole in the centre, hanging on for dear life. Finally after a short ride we arrived at the top. The views were breath taking! After the obligatory social media pics for Mr Doughty, we had an opportunity to have a look around, get some really good photos and enjoy a bite to eat in the mountain café.
The Legacy Centre: Bethany Needham Netball Academy
One of the most rewarding days in South Africa, was when we visited the legacy centre. Just driving through the township to get there, made us all realise just how some areas of South Africa contrasted to not only our home but the huge cities five minutes down the road, and how all the different people live. Once we arrived we began by painting the hall and by lunchtime we had completed it, and had helped transform the building into a safe environment for children of the township to come to after school to work on their school work and play. After lunch, we spent the rest of our afternoon, which was one of my favourite afternoons of the tour, meeting the children. The kids ranged from toddlers to our own age. Despite the age gaps and language differences, we were able to communicate with each other.
One of the things I remember the most was that despite the fact these children lived where they did, not a single one seemed unhappy or complained as they had made the long walk from their school to come and see their friends to carry on their education instead of playing on street corners. This really highlighted the differences for me, as here we complain about getting up and going to school where as there the children had to put in the effort to get an education and have safe spaces like the legacy centre. I really think the day at the legacy centre helped us to try understand what life is like for the people of the townships.
The children were proud to show us their work and more often than not led us in games despite the fact most of them were half our ages.
I think everyone would agree that the day we spent in the legacy centre painting, cooking, helping in classes and just playing was an unforgettable experience that was not only rewarding but enjoyable. No one didn't leave without a smile as a huge group of children waved us off and chased the bus down the road waving.
Aquila Game Reserve: Eliza Tiffin, Dance Academy
On the last night of the tour we stayed at the Aquila Game Reserve and it was incredible. We went on an evening and early morning Safari where we saw so many amazing animals such as elephants, zebras, giraffes, rhinos, hippos, lions and ostriches we were so close to the animals it was unbelievable. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime, one we will never forget. The hotel was the nicest hotel we stayed at and the food was traditional South African food. In the evening we had an awards evening giving out the awards for the tour, awards such as captains choice, best tourist, players of the tour and the awards for the most fines. It was a great way to end the tour.
African Dance: Maisie Day, Dance Academy:
South Africa 2017 was an incredible experience to meet and dance with new people and learn new things from people who have a different style of dance to us. Dancing in Elkanah house was amazing. We made so many new friends that we all still talk to and the township put on an amazing workshop which involved everyone, and taught us a dance we all loved and performed again several times during in the tour.
Host Families: Bradley Harrison Rugby Academy
One of the best parts of the South African tour was staying with host families. I think most students on the tour were all nervous about meeting the first host family, because we all didn’t know who we were staying with until we were called off by name. Each family hosted between 1-4 students. I was grouped with Jake Fellows, Tom Hodgkin’s, Nigel Hartley and we stayed with a family of 2 boys, aged 16 and 10. They were very welcoming and the first thing they did was take us to the only major grocery store used in South Africa, Pick n’ Pay. The family then treated us to some ‘Bull Tongue’ which is considered a delicacy over there. After this, we went back to their house, played pool and had a South African ‘Braai’ which is essentially a BBQ, but cooked in a charcoal ‘Braai unit’. On the second night, we went to a famous steak house called Spur as it was the son’s 10th birthday.
The second host family I stayed with led a complete different lifestyle to the first. They lived in what was essentially a mansion, with the tallest and oldest tree in Cape Town in their own back garden. They owned multiple vineyards and had their own wine making and tasting facility on the premises. We didn’t really do anything on the first night as we (me, Jake and their son) were exhausted from the Rugby match during the day. In the morning we walked to a mini café on-site and the father made me and Jake a coffee. The coffee beans he used were only 2 DAYS old! That evening they took us out for tea to a local restaurant. The owners of the restaurant had mined the largest diamond ever dug up, which is currently sitting in the crown jewels! Despite this, I still had to go for the Beer Battered Fish and Chips!
Surfing: Emily Gaskell Netball Academy
We had been due to visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned but unfortunately due to the weather all the boats to the island were cancelled. Thinking quickly, Mr Doughty set about finding an alternate activity to make our mini adventure as full and exciting as possible. As a substitute Mr Doughty arranged an opportunity for us to learn to surf which was a fantastic experience which I really enjoyed. Like learning most new skills, there were a few tumbles and mishaps along the way but we all really enjoyed surfing in the ocean near Cape Town and I was particularly amazed that I mastered standing up on the board, a great achievement on my 16th birthday! The sea being shark infested didn’t stop any of us; everyone got stuck in and enjoyed the surfing. It was a superb alternative to our original trip and something which I will always remember.
Competitive Sports Fixtures: Katie Sandiford Netball Academy
Whilst we were in South Africa our netball team played two competitive fixtures and won both. I really enjoyed playing while we were out there as it gave us the opportunity to play in a different environment and with completely different teams, who have been trained very differently to us. Even though both games were really competitive, both the teams we played were so friendly and welcoming and it was really nice to get to know them. We had a training session with a former South African player who taught us loads of things to use in games which really helped, and it gave us a taste of how the professionals play.
PE Teacher Mr Doughty said, “The trip was designed to give pupils the opportunity to experience different cultures, see sights they might not otherwise have had the chance to experience and take pride in their sporting academies. We had a fantastic time and look forward to next time”.
South Africa 2017