Amidst Dusty Sand Surroundings, A Netball Dream Is Born On the Cape Flats By Cheryl Roberts

12 Sep

At a time when South Africa celebrates the world and global triumphs of her phenomenally achieving sports people, exists the community dreams of working class people to enjoy and participate in recreation and sport.

With no corporate funding, no NGO support, no local government assistance, a community sports ambition sprung up in Delft, a residential space located on the outside borders of what constitutes the rich and wealthy city of Cape Town, existing mostly for the privileged middle class and elite.

It was Viwe Nete’s dream. It emerged because of her love for netball and her desire to ‘do something for the girls and women in the community’.

Viwe is a black working class woman, working at a restaurant and living in the lower working class community of Delft in Cape Town.

Delft is that living/residential space where the city of Cape Town places people who have no choices and not much money to choose their living space. Delft is where the struggling working class img_8577live and hustle together. Delft is about lots of people living in blocks of flats and small houses acting as living space across a large ground of sand. The sand spaces around the flats and houses haven’t been grassed or tarred; you can imagine what the people experience when the wind hits Cape Town.

Delft is also a severely depressed, under-reourced residential area. Lots of house dwellings; family types mostly occupying the living spaces. It has some schools and some sports spaces. Not much, though. And undoubtedly not advantaged and resourced as schools and sports amenities existing in Cape Town’s suburban areas, where the privileged live.

But there was the dream. The passion, too. The yearning to ‘do something’. And there was Viwe, straight outta Delft.

 

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Viwe Nete, founder of Red Tigers netball club in Delft in cape Town (pic by cheryl roberts)

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Thinking outside of her barriers, Viwe took occupation of a small tarred parking space deep in the heartland of Delft, amongst the houses where the people live. She got two netball posts, painted the netball markings and there she had it created. Her dream became reality and the Delft community had a netball court, albeit a makeshift one.

The netball project began six years ago, with no money; just a heart and desire to do something in the community for the community. Girls and young women mostly, gather to play netball throughout the week, to use the netball playing area to practice and to play social friendly netball matches.

On a Saturday out and about in Cape Town, stopping over at various sports fields, documenting girls and women in sport, I found myself changing direction and going to a netball toimg_8547urnament in Delft. I was immediately awed by what I saw.

I could see the community effort in creating their own sports space, from ground up. I saw the netball passion, happiness and love. I also saw what can be achieved with limited resources. In a country like South Africa where billions of money is given to sports-related events and activities and so little money given to community sport, this netball project started by Viwe Nete is magical.

Viwe founded the Red Tigers netball club in Delft. The club plays in the Cape Town netball league, based in Belville. To encourage growth of other netball clubs and players, Viwe has her club Red Tigers firmly rooted on the ground and in the community. New teams have emerged; though not district or city affiliated, they participate in the netball activities arranged by Red Tigers netball club. These activities include weekly friendly netball games and the occasional friendly tournaments.

‘I’m so happy to see what I started here in Delft growing in numbers and netball teams. It’s a struggle to keep this going, but the struggles are worth it, especially when you see the happiness it brings to the girls playing netball,’ says Viwe.

 

 

 

 

Out of this selfless netball project have already emerged national players like Noluyo and Thandiwe who were called up for regional and then provincial selection trials.

This is what makes Viwe smile. While talking to Viwe I am told about the star player emerging. She is 10 year old Yamkela, who plays at center and has already received several ‘player of the tournament’ awards.

There’s the emerging young black women leaders in sport, blossoming beautifully like Thoko the club captain and Olwethu, a university education student who is also the club secretary. They help and assist Viwe with preparations for league matches and friendly games.

Transport is the club’s biggest challenge as the girl and women netballers need to be transported to matches. Most times, Viwe uses her wages to help fund the transport of the Red Tigers netball team.

On match days, the surrounding residents come out to watch and support the netballers. As this is a makeshift netball playing court, there are no benches to seat spectators. But residents bring out benches from their houses and sit and watch the netball. The players have to sit on the sand surrounding the tarred parking space, in between play.

 

 

 

There’s no aggressive supporters, no parents bullying the ref, no ambitious parent screaming out for their child. All the players are supported and encouraged.

It is here in Delft, amongst the people and amongst the houses, where a working class community has come together and created the sports life they want and its here where a sports dream has become reality and where netball dreams are being realised.img_8504

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