Youth Development

Youth Leadership Development – Delft

Operating in partnership with The Blue Bus Ministry and reaching a network of 23 schools in the impoverished community of Delft, Cape Town, our Youth Leadership Development Programme identifies candidates in the community with high leadership potential. Some of the ways we contribute to the upskilling of these individuals include providing computer literacy training, career planning and advanced leadership training, as well as assistance in obtaining bursaries to further their educatio

Sports Development – Paarl Canoe Club

Aimed at supporting young paddlers from disadvantaged areas in and around Paarl, the Paarl Canoe Club Development Programme provides the necessary training and equipment (such as canoes, paddles, life jackets, etc.) to people who otherwise could not afford to take part in the sport. The programme also provides transport to and from the club, entry fees for races and accommodation while at events so that canoeing is made accessible to all interested youth.

Many of the children in these surrounding communities have absent fathers and mothers who work late hours trying to earn an income to provide for their families. Canoeing gives these children an opportunity to change their lives and be hopeful for their futures. In addition, they have the opportunity to join a group, share camaraderie with their fellow paddlers and learn good sportsmanship. Head Coach Mzamo Wayne August’s goal is to make champions in life, not only in sport.

The programme uses canoeing as a tool to teach children the importance of discipline, hard work and determination. Each year the programme sees about 50 young paddlers, aged 9 to 21 years old, from Paarl and its surrounding areas (Wellington, Paarl East, Mbekweni) go out on the water each day. As part of a greater team, whilst still being an individual sport, paddlers learn the importance of applying their physical strength, mental agility, and endurance as they compete in races such as the Berg River Canoe Marathon, held each year in July. As the longest canoe marathon in South Africa, taking four days to complete the 240km trip from the Cape Winelands to Velddrift, this race is not to be undertaken lightly.

The Dream:

The Paarl Canoe Development Program was established in 1997 by a Paarl Canoe Club member – Robin Graves. His dream was to give children from disadvantaged areas access to canoeing as a sport and at the same time develop new, young talent for the sport. The aim was to promote canoeing as a school sport amongst learners from the surrounding Primary and High schools in Paarl and the surrounding Drakenstein area.

From the Paarl Development Program, we cultivated the following national paddlers from 2001 to 2018:

  • Paul Lombaard: 3 x SA federation colours, 1 x Youth Olympic Rowing, 2006 Australian Youth Games
  • Bjorn Bitcher: 1 x SA Federation colours rower
  • Mzamo Wayne August: 5 x SA feather colours, 2 x SA Protea colours, 4 x SA Federation Colours, International Canoe Federation Official, Coach for SA team that went to Morocco for the 2019 Africa Games
  • Jermaine Pietersen: Fourth place, team event, 2017 Berg River Canoe Marathon
  • Joseph Williams: 2 x SA Federation colours, 1 x SA Protea colours (Marathons)
  • Diviano Pietersen: 1 x SA Federation colours
  • She-Earl De Wee: 2 x SA Federation colours
  • Luke Stowman: 1 x SA Protea colours (Marathon), 2 x SA Federation colours, 1 x Youth Olympic Rowing, 2011 Singapore Youth Games

New Coach:

Wayne started paddling in 2001 after being inspired by young people in his community that joined the programme. After 3 years, he took over the program coordination work, with the assistance of Herbert Conradie and later he was appointed head coach at the club. His role was to make sure that the development paddlers knew what time they had to be at the club on Saturdays, get refreshments for the races and keep track of who, what days they came to practice. Meanwhile, he obtained a driver’s license so that he could drive the bakkie that WP Kano Union bought for the Paarl Development Program. Wayne August is currently the head coach at the Paarl Canoe Club and also the coach and coordinator of the Paarl Canoe Club Development Program since 2003.

“On the river (much like in life), you can’t always see where you’re going, what’s waiting for you just around the river bend… So we aim to prepare our young ones with the necessary tools and training to empower themselves when faced with difficult situations. Through this sport, I have seen many members elevate themselves in their minds and, therefore, in life as well. It helps people cross barriers as no matter who you are or where you are from, we all race the same race and have to navigate the difficulties that get thrown our way as the river twists and turns, both metaphorically and literally.” Wayne August