Kanonkop High School Girls' Field Hockey Team: Making a Difference, One Life at a Time
About the Program
Regina Mundi supports young leader development through athletics. In our home town of Middelburg, South Africa the Kanonkop High School Girls Field Hockey Team is one such leadership success. The learners are multinational and multicultural – competing with teams throughout the province and the country. Several graduates have gone onto higher education in the United States and in schools of members of the British Commonwealth community.
The coach is a leader in her own right, Suretha Maartens, who is the 2013 World Transplant Games Gold Medalist in the 100 Meter Dash & Long Jump, as well as the 2015 World Champion for the Long Jump. Her remarkable story, surviving a double kidney transplant, and then competing to win only two years later is an inspiration for the young learners.
The development of young leaders is a critical role for the business community – and Regina Mundi looks to become involved where popular attention is not focused.
Representatives of the Regina team were recently on hand at the Kanonkop team's acknowledgement ceremony, and shared personal stories of what young women can accomplish in the pursuit of personal dreams. The Hockey team were encouraged by these stories of struggle and success. One of the team members has already reached out to us in the hopes of being supported for a gap year program while staying in South Africa. Another has asked about studying in America.
Our ideas for individual empowerment is manifest in the decisions and actions of many of these young women as reported to us. Sport and sporting has been both the glue which binds these young women together, but it is also a source of self esteem based on the values of honesty, empathy, and courage.
Message from Brenda Mare, Kanonkop Athletic Director, December 2016:
It is with nostalgia that I write this email to you. You have sponsored us this year and I don't know if you realise how big of an impact this has made on these young ladies.
I would like to tell you a bit more of our team's history. I coached most of the girls from gr 8. Many of them never played hockey in Primary School but that never stopped them to work hard. We were privileged to be Mpumalanga (regional) winners for 5 years from u/14 - first team and were Noordvaal winners u/14 & u/15. We came second in Noordvaal when we were u/16. The team was then mixed for two years as some didn't make the cut for first team.
The first year I coached the first team, we reached Noordvaal semi finals only. First team competition is very hard. This year most of the team was reunited. You know how blessed we have been this year...
We have also been the best sport team for 5 consecutive years at school. This competition is against all winter sport at school including boy's hockey, netball and rugby.
What makes this achievement so special to me is the make up of this year's team and what these girls had to face.
... Most of the team had difficult situations at home. The hockey team became their family where they felt safe to share their heart aches, joys and dreams.
They never complained once during strenuous training sessions and worked together as a unit of support.
What was beautiful to see was how proud they were when walking on school grounds with their red jackets. Not to mention when they walked onto the field from the change room. It was as if they walked a little taller and looked as if they could face anything together. The clothes -which might be trivial to other people - made them feel so special.
These girls feel like my daughters. We have been through quite a bit together this year.
Half of the team has written matric - thank you, for making this a year for them to remember!!
Message from Brenda Mare, Kanonkop Athletic Director: July 2016 - Season Ends on a High Note
Our team has taken part in the Noordvaal Hockey tournament. This tournament is against the best hockey teams from all the provinces in SA except the Cape Province.
We only had one reserve which made the one hour matches hard on the girls. They never gave up and fought bravely. I am so proud to say that we came 4th overall. It is also the first time in our school's history that a First hockey team has gone this far.
Thank you so much for your sponsorship. We did not only play good hockey but were also complimented on our match clothes and jackets.
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