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If transformation is any slower, it will go backwards

I TAKE my hat off to the seven Springboks who went to Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) with their concerns about transformation. It takes a lot of courage to do that from within the ranks of rugby.

Usually players speak out only after they have finished with the game because they know that if they do so while within it, they can say goodbye to their careers. Already a witch-hunt for names has started.

I hope Cosatu can protect them. But I hope too that the South African Rugby Players’ Association gets on board. So far, at least in public, its response has been muted, apparently going along with the South African Rugby Union’s (Saru’s) assurances.

It should take note of the fact that black players did not feel able to go to it with their concerns.

Saru’s response to the players was to restate its position. “Saru recently signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the government and Sascoc (South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) on a strategic transformation plan for rugby. Our focus now is on delivering on our understanding with them and we will continue to engage with sports leadership in the country on our progress.”

A closer look at this transformation plan reveals that it is already showing cracks. It says the principal objective in this World Cup year is to: “Engage (the) national coach to increase black player representation to 30% (seven players in a squad of 23). From the seven generic black players two must be black Africans.”

The four-year aim of the plan, which is timeline-based with interim targets, is to “increase black participation in the Springbok team to 50% by 2019″.

At Kings Park on Saturday, Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and Bryan Habana were yet again trotted out as the sole representatives of black South African rugby talent. On the bench were Trevor Nyakane, Siya Kolisi and Lwazi Mvovo, meaning exactly five black players in the match-day squad, as there have been in each of the Tests this year.

Even after the Cosatu intervention and for a relatively meaningless non-Test game against Argentina this Saturday, there are still only five black players in the match-day 23.

Scarra Ntubeni, who was the best hooker in South African Super Rugby this year, has not even made the bench this season and has clearly been usurped as third-choice hooker by Schalk Britz. Elton Jantjies, the in-form Super Rugby flyhalf, has also been sidelined.

If our promising young black players are not being given regular game time at this level now, the next target — 50% of black Springboks by 2019 — also looks like a chimera.

I have heard complaints about marginalisation from black players for years, at provincial and national level. If the strategic transformation plan were effective, marginalisation should be a thing of the past.

We have not heard any protest from Saru president Oregan Hoskins about the breach of the plan’s targets in the Springbok teams. Nor from Saru CEO Jurie Roux.

Is there an intention to monitor its implementation? Will failure to meet targets incur meaningful sanctions? And, if so, will there be transparency about the process?

When the plan was launched earlier this year there was much talk of a brave new world in rugby. Hoskins talked of “a watershed moment for our sport”. Roux said: “Transformation is a critical business imperative in SA and if we had not taken this new approach to what had been an organic process up until recently, we would have put our sport in peril of becoming marginalised.”

So far, there is little evidence of establishment push behind this “new approach”.

Saru has just announced it is cutting funding to three of the four academies set up to produce black high-performance talent. This will further narrow the pipeline for emerging stars.

The poor attendance at Kings Park last week — despite the fact that it was a Test in a Rugby World Cup year — speaks to the failure to spread the game beyond the white minority. The paucity of black rugby heroes on the field means fewer black people are drawn to attend games.

Accounts of racist abuse by some fans at Ellis Park the week before were inadequately dealt with by the authorities, which hardly makes black fans feel safe and welcome. And the cost of tickets puts the game beyond the reach of most South Africans.

In the coaching structures there appears to have been minimal transformation. There is not one black head coach in any of the significant teams: Springboks, Sevens, under-20 or Super Rugby.

Saru can get away with being opaque and high-handed because it is accountable to no one but itself.

But I was surprised by recent tweets from Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula: “Full transformation not gonna emerge over night bcos we are going to WC (World Cup).”

Perhaps the minister, who has previously been strongly proactive in his demands for transformation, knows something I don’t. I can only imagine this must be the case because he will be fully alive to the anger coursing through social media from fans who feel that if transformation goes any slower it will go backwards.

 *This column first appeared in Business Day
 

Wat gaan jy aanskaf op Koop-’n-Afrikaanse-Boek-Dag 2015?

 
Vrydag, 14 Augustus is dit weer tyd vir die jaarlikse Koop-’n-Afrikaanse-Boek-Dag; ‘n inisiatief wat deur die Vriende van Afrikaans gedryf word, nou ‘n afdeling van die ATKV.

Die konsep is eenvoudig: Almal wat Afrikaans praat en lees word gevra om op hierdie dag, indien moontlik, ‘n Afrikaanse boek aan te skaf om sodoende die industrie warm te laat kook. Die uitnodiging strek selfs verder en vra dat diegene wat dit kan bekostig ook vir die wat nie self ‘n boek kan koop nie, een (of meer!) te gee.

Uitgesoekte winkels en enkele uitgewers sal Vrydag spesiale winskopies bied. Sien dié pdf vir meer besonderhede.

Indien jy graag aan die inisiatief wil deelneem, maar nie weet waar om te vat of los nie, het ons so paar boeke wat oor die afgelope jaar verskyn het gekies om die besluit makliker te maak:

JudaskusSwemlesse vir 'n meerminSoos familieBeste Suid-Afrikaanse spookstoriesOp die punt van my tong: 80 lawwe tongknopersWoudfonteinBoomkasteleBuys – ’n GrensromanAsterix en die Speelplek van die GodeDie buitekant van Meneer JulesBitter + soetIkarusDie groot Boere-ontsnappingWynie - My bloed is blouBoererateKostalgieWonderboomDie Onbekende Van GoghKoskaskosBloedvreemdSkuldigIn die blou kampClint Eastwood van Wyk en die moordenaarsklokBrandwaterkomProoiHuisies van papierDit was nie ek nie!MoestasMy groot vet Griekse egskeidingTakelwerkOpdrag van oorkantEugene de KockKaterina se mojoIn sneeu geskryfSplitPruimtwak en skaduboksersDie dans met GodKameeWoesKomplotDie jaar toe Emma begin kook hetLow carb is Lekker

 
Watter boeke gaan jy aanskaf? Gesels saam op Facebook of Twitter, en moenie vergeet om vir ons ‘n boekselfie van jou buit te stuur nie!

Kyk na ‘n video oor Vrydag se opwinding:

YouTube Preview Image

 
Lees die persverklaring, uitgereik deur die ATKV, vir meer oor Koop-’n-Afrikaanse-Boek-Dag 2015:

Dis byna onmoontlik om te glo dat dit al weer tyd is vir Koop-‘n-Afrikaanse-boek-dag op 14 Augustus. Ons vra dat almal wat Afrikaans praat en lees, om op dié dag vir hulself ‘n boek te koop en as dit enigsins moontlik is ‘n boek te skenk vir iemand wat dit nie self kan bekostig nie, of wat dalk nog nooit ‘n boek van sy/haar eie besit het nie.

Aangesien die VVA sedert 2014 deel is van die ATKV, gaan ons hierdie groot organisasie se magtige reklamemasjien inspan om hierdie dag die grootste sukses ooit te maak.

RSG, Die Burger, Beeld en Volksblad en help ons om die nuus te versprei.
Daar sal plakkate op wees by die deelnemende boekwinkels (die name en hoeveel afslag hulle bied, sal binnekort op die ATKV se webwerf beskikbaar wees).
Saam met al hierdie vennote wil ons baie graag help om ʼn leeskultuur aan te wakker sodat ons ons kinders toekomsgereed kan maak deur hulle in ‘n woordryke omgewing groot te maak. Terselfdertyd wil ons mense aanmoedig om van die wye verskeidenheid Afrikaanse boeke wat op die mark is, te koop.

Almal kan baat by hierdie dag: lesers, skrywers, boekwinkels en uitgewers! So, versprei hierdie nuus asseblief so wyd as moontlik en ondersteun ons Afrikaanse boekbedryf!

En dan die kersie op die koek: die persoon wat op 14 Augustus die grootste bedrag geld op Afrikaanse boeke uitgee by deelnemende boekwinkels, wen ‘n midweek van sy keuse by een van die gewilde ATKV-oorde in SA – ATKV-Goudini Spa, -Buffelspoort, -Klein-Kariba, -Drakensville, -Hartenbos, -Eiland Spa en -Natalia. En die boekwinkel wat op 14 Augustus die meeste geld maak uit die verkoop van Afrikaanse boeke, ontvang prysgeld van R3 000.

Boekbesonderhede

LAPA se kinderboeke skitter by Veertjies 2015

LAPA Uitgewers pronk vanjaar weer met ’n hele rits wenners by die jaarlikse ATKV-Kinderboektoekennings. Dié kompetisie is die enigste van sy soort in Afrikaans waar jong lesers self in verskillende ouderdomskategorieë vir hul gunsteling-boeke stem – volwassenes se stem tel glad nie.

LAPA het vanjaar oudergewoonte uitstekend gevaar en ses van die agt toekennings ingepalm.

Die coolste ouma op aardePlonsWian Verwey het ’n crush op myIewers vlieg daar fairy dust

 

In die voorleeskategorie (graad RR-graad 1) is Marita van de Vyver se prettige prenteboek Die coolste ouma op aarde as die wenner aangewys. Dié boek met sy versameling aweregse en interessante oumas is ook deur die jongspan aangewys as die prenteboek met die mooiste illustrasies, wat aan Zinelda McDonald die prys vir beste illustreerder in hierdie kategorie besorg.

In die kategorie graad 2-3 is die bekende kinderboekskrywer Fanie Viljoen se boek Plons as die wenner aangewys. Dit is ’n lekkerlag-storie oor ’n seun se dilemma nadat ’n parmantige meermin en haar familie hulle in sy swembad kom tuismaak. In hierdie kategorie kan lesers ook vir hul gunsteling-illustrasies stem, en Arnelle Woker is as die wenner aangewys vir haar illustrasies in Plons.

Ouer lesers in graad 6-7 het vanjaar die boek Wian Verwey het ’n crush op my as hul gunsteling gekies. Dit is geskryf deur die baie gewilde Tania Brink – skuilnaam van die skrywer Jaco Jacobs.

Marisa Haasbroek se eerste roman vir tieners, Iewers vlieg daar fairy dust, het in die kategorie graad 8-10 met die louere weggestap. Dié aangrypende jeugroman vertel die storie van Elmien, wat in ’n plakkerskamp bly en daarvan droom om eendag ’n dokter te word.

Die ATKV-Kinderboektoekennings word op 11 September tydens die jaarlikse ATKV-Woordveertjie-geleentheid in Durbanville oorhandig.

Boekbesonderhede

Book Launch at Skoobs | Gemma's Gems | 26 August 2015

Come join us at Skoobs for Gemma’s Gems book launch on 26 August 2015.

Please RSVP with: Charle de Klerk | admin@porcupinepress.co.za

 

Gemma's Gems Invitation Final

 

Description of Book:

This self-help book is like no other – no preachy nonsense, no making you feel bad about yourself because you aren’t ‘perfect’.

What are you waiting for? Take Gemma’s Gems home with you… You have a lot to read and learn about yourself. This is just one person trying to help another.

You will learn about:

  • Dealing with conflict
  • Coping with your emotions – from fear to trust
  • The Secrets to Success and making your dreams a reality
  • Tons of awesome quotes
  • Dealing with social networking sites and the media overload
  • Your perceptions of reality
  • Dealing with your self-image
  • Looking after your body but keeping up with your responsibilities
  • Dealing with bullies/mean people
  • And much more!

Get your copy NOW!

"I weep for the black boys who were never given a chance'

IN A bizarre move, the South African Rugby Union (Saru) has decided to withdraw funding for its academy in Port Elizabeth. It is one of four academies set up with great fanfare in 2013 with Lotto money in areas with substantial black rugby talent.

For the past two years, Saru has funded them. From next year, it will fund only the East London academy.

I spent last week in the Eastern Cape doing research for a film on transformation in rugby.

It rapidly became apparent that the Southern Kings are going to have difficulty fielding a credible Super Rugby team next year, never mind one that fulfils its promise of showcasing local black talent.

The Southern Kings team that lost to Western Province in a preseason Currie Cup friendly on Saturday was largely white and featured several players who have already been recycled through other unions.

The only bright spot for the Southern Kings on Saturday was their Under-19s, the one team to beat their Western Province counterparts. This is their third victory in a row. They have already won their games against the Cheetahs and the Bulls. Around half the Southern Kings under-19s team consists of black boys recruited from Eastern Cape schools and they are coached by a local player, former Sevens captain Mzwandile Stick.

The under-19s are products of the academy about to be cut adrift by Saru. There seems little hope of the Southern Kings taking up the slack. They are themselves in financial difficulties, unable to pay their players’ salaries for the past month.

It would be mortifying for SA if the Southern Kings’ Super Rugby venture were to be allowed to fail. Failure would partly be defined as fielding yet another team of largely white players bought in from elsewhere.

The bloated, 18-team version of Super Rugby that comes into being next year was created largely to accommodate their long-term inclusion. The reason Saru pushed so hard for it was to boost black rugby by giving the Eastern Cape its own team in the most competitive competition in world rugby.

They were right to do so. Not only will a successful Super Rugby team hugely strengthen black rugby but it will also limit the buying up of black players from the region by other franchises. If these players can achieve their dreams of making a Super Rugby or Springbok team in their own province, they will stay at home, where they will be a lot better off.

Speaking to rugby people in the Eastern Cape last week, I realised just how profound and widespread is the conviction that black players are deliberately excluded from professional teams. I was repeatedly given examples, for instance, of black players who could have shone in the place of some of the current Springboks incumbents.

“I have no problem with the white boys in the team,” said one. “They have worked very hard to get where they are. But I weep for the black boys who were never given the chance.”

Poverty and inequality are major culprits in keeping our teams white. For instance, a rugby coach at a mainly black former Model C school in Grahamstown said when his boys ran onto the field for practice at 3.30pm, he was very aware that they had been up since 4am for the long walk from township to school and that, in between, all they had had to eat was two slices of bread.

The same coach had been in charge of the Port Elizabeth Country Districts’ Craven Week squad the year before. He said the players had missed four meals before their first game because they weren’t given a travel allowance. This, before competing with players from some of the richest schools in the country.

But, on this trip, I also heard another view equally powerfully expressed: that, in fact, plenty of middle-class black boys were now also at good schools where they benefited from the same nutrition, education and sports facilities as white boys. And yet they were still not making it into professional teams.

These men I spoke to — intelligent, reasonable, passionate rugby fans — were adamant: a racial and cultural bias in mainstream rugby meant black boys were simply not being considered by a great number of white coaches.

In another development, it was reported at the weekend that the Super Rugby franchises are refusing to approve the allocation of broadcasting funds proposed for next year when the new deal kicks in. The proposal is to give the Super Rugby franchises R25m each a year and the eight small unions R15m. The big unions are balking at the share claimed by the other eight.

I hope the Super Rugby franchises stick to their guns. But I also hope this rebellion is part of a more ambitious plan to transform Saru so that it is better suited to serve South African rugby as a whole. The success or otherwise of the Southern Kings could be a litmus test of this.

The Southern Kings are clearly in need of help. I was told that, during Alan Solomons’s tenure as coach during the Kings’ first abortive Super Rugby stint, he established a clear progression path for players from under-19s to the senior team. In the succession of coaches who have followed him, this has been lost. As a result, the all-important development path for local players is interrupted.

Saru head office, which has until now so capably run the Eastern Cape academies, needs to take a more central role in the Eastern Cape. A hands-off attitude is not good enough. Cash that has been frittered away on professional teams run by the small unions should be diverted to development. Saru should not only continue to fund the Port Elizabeth Academy, but should expand it and establish others.

Anything less might make the allocation of a Super Rugby franchise to a black rugby-rich region look like a cynical gesture, setting them up to fail.

*This column first appeared in Business Day

 

 

SABF Day 1: The Ins and Outs of the Publishing Industry, How Dictionaries are Made, and the Launch of Soccer Secrets

The 2015 South African Book Fair kicked off with a bang today in the Turbine Hall in Johannesburg.

The early risers were treated to a talk by Oxford University Press South Africa on the importance of mother-tongue instruction at foundation phase level.

Professor Elizabeth Henning from the University of Johannesburg and Mrs Bulie Ndodane gave their views on multilingualism in schools. Henning spoke about the importance of teaching young students mathematical concepts like time, density, volume, space and so forth in their mother tongues. “Language has structure and function – there shouldn’t be too much of a mix in the early years,” she said.

At 9 AM everyone gathered in the foyer to be welcomed to the fair by Brian Wafawarowa, the Executive Director of the Publishers’ Association of South Africa, MEC of Culture and Recreation for Gauteng, Molebatsi Frances Bopape, and PK Naicker, Programmes Executive at the FP&M Seta.

WastedThe first session in the Brink room featured Wasted author Mark Winkler and Bookstorm publisher Louise Grantham.

The author and publisher gave advice to writers on how to get published. Grantham said that the number-one rule is to conceptualise your book as a product. She said that writers must identify the correct publisher for their book and do intensive market research to find out who the book is aimed at.

Winkler said that if a manuscript doesn’t adhere to submission guidelines it will be binned. His advice is to submit good, clean copy in the correct format.

In the next session, Kathy McCabe introduced the “Talking Stories” programme – a learning tool that uses technology to improve literacy in classrooms. This initiative is powered by Macmillan Education.

Soccer SecretsThe first day of the fair had a definite educational theme, with Jayne Bauling launching her book, Soccer Secrets, to a room full of primary and high school students. There wasn’t place for a mouse in the room as Bauling spoke about her Harmony High series. A group of students from Olico Youth performed a skit from Bauling’s previous book, Broken Promises.

The day ended with a panel discussion on the making of dictionaries, with Professor Phillip Louw and Megan Hall from Oxford University Press Southern Africa, chaired by Sue de Groot.

The three speakers discussed the evolution of the dictionary world, the excitement of publishing dictionaries in a multilingual country like South Africa, and shared some amazing South Africanisms that have made it into the latest South African Oxford Dictionary – e-tolls and loadshedding.

Throughout the day there were hordes of children milling about, soaking up the literature, and publishers exhibited their books and services in the two main halls.

A super day, and it’s only the beginning!

 

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See Annetjie van Wynegaard’s Twitter timeline for all the Book Fair action:


 

 

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