A sporting chance at a brighter future

Rotary Club of Constantia members and Westlake Primary School pupils and teachers celebrate new all-weather sports field.

Westlake Primary School has welcomed the handover of an all-weather sprint track and football field, plus sports kit.

Members of various Rotary groups, past principal Landie Diamond, acting principal Jodi Dawson, Brad Bing and Natalie Pollock of Sporting Chance, and Vintcent van der Byl of MCC Masi 750 attended the function, on Thursday June 24, which marks the completion of the second phase of a Constantia Rotary Club project (“Sport initiative to aid pupils”, Bulletin February 6).

Ms Dawson said the first phase of the project had been a netball court in the school’s quad. She thanked sponsors and Rotary for the sports kit – grey and green bibs to be worn for away matches and colourful bibs for inter-house games. “It was heart-warming to see elderly people coming, rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in,” she said.

Rotary Club of Constantia secretary Geoff von Klemperer said sports fields had been included in the school’s original plans, but extra classrooms had taken away a lot of that land and the drought had turned the rest into a dust bowl.

There are 809 children at the school and many come from poor communities with high unemployment.

According to Western Cape Education Department spokeswoman Millicent Merton, Westlake Primary is no-fee school with about 38 pupils per teacher. The school’s governing body employs extra teachers to keep class sizes at that level.

However, the school relies on support from surrounding communities to pay for those teachers. One major sponsor covered the costs of three governing-body-appointed staff until March this year.

Ms Merton said the school was seeking funding to hold on to its supplementary staff.

At the handover last week, governing body chairman Nkululeko Badini asked Rotary members not to get tired but to keep on supporting the school.

Rotary Club of Constantia chairman Richard Rawson described how Westlake’s new all-weather track and pitch had been a mass of weeds until work had started in September 2019.

The top 10cm of the new pitch is a mix of sand and cement that has been rolled and compacted. “It will last a long time and be there for life, but the next step is to cover it with synthetic grass,” he said.

Ms Diamond, who was the founding principal when the school opened 10 years ago, said: “This is for generations to come.” The track and field would instil in pupils a sense of teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership and self-esteem, she said.

“Children are full of energy and need to let off steam. Thank you to the donors and to Rotary. We are grateful,” said Ms Diamond.

To support the project, email Richard Rawson at richarderawson@gmail.com or Geoff von Klemperer at gvk@iafrica.com

Westlake Primary pupils showing off their new sports kit.
Governing body chairman Nkululeko Badini asked Rotary members to continue with their support.
From left, Valentine Mphande, Serena Mtapi, Arnold Madziva, Devotion Mwalwanda and Taves Cupido.
Guests included various Rotary groups, past principal Landie Diamond, acting principal Jodi Dawson, Brad Bing and Natalie Pollock of Sporting Chance and Vintcent van der Byl of MCC Masi 750.
Westlake Primary has welcomed the official handover of an all-weather sprint track and football field, plus sports kit.
Rotary president Peter Rogers.
This track and field replace a dust bowl. This picture was taken in September 2019.