30 June 2009In the unlikely event of an injury to a referee during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, South Africa has a ready replacement – in President Jacob Zuma, who’s just been given a special award by Fifa for refereeing on Robben Island during his years as a political prisoner.Zuma refereed for the Makana Football Association, which ran a soccer league for political prisoners on Robben Island, between 1965 and 1973.Fifa president Sepp Blatter conferred the special award on Zuma on Sunday, the final day of the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup.“It is a historical moment for Fifa to have a former referee of Robben Island in Mr Jacob Zuma,” Blatter said. “As such, we have decided that you are an International Referee, and that is why we have prepared a special certificate for you.”“Thank you so much, I appreciate it,” Zuma replied. “This brings back memories of my young days, when I could still play and referee!”For years on Robben Island, political prisoners had to fight for the right to play football, with men secretly playing the game in their cells with balls made of pieces of paper, cardboard and rags tied together with string.The island’s authorities finally gave in, granting inmates the right to play football in 1965. The prisoners then built their own goals, and would swap their drab prison garb to play in the colours of their teams on Saturdays.The Makana FA was formed in 1966. It was a football association which adhered strictly to Fifa’s statutes and laws of the game. On 18 July 2007, Makana FA became the first Fifa honorary member association.Among the best players on the island were the likes of Kgalema Motlanthe, currently Deputy President of South Africa. Dikgang Moseneke, now a Constitutional Court judge, was on Makana FA’s disciplinary committee.SAinfo reporter and Fifa.com
SABT dancers in Coppélia, an acclaimed ballet. (Image: supplied by SABT) Funding is critical to ballet companies, danseur Dirk Weyershausen said. New employees Ishshah Basheh and Teboho Nkoana are aiming to contribute to SABT’s growth. SABT’s executives Iain MacDonald and Fiona Budd.(Images: Bongani Nkosi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Fiona Budd, Managing Director,SABT +27 11 877 6898 RELATED ARTICLES • SA ballet shines in dark times • Celebrating heritage with dance • South African theatreBongani NkosiAfter months of financial strain, the South African Ballet Theatre (SABT) is back on its feet and ready to stage a glittering season of Carmen, thanks to a range of generous benefactors.After sending out an appeal for funding in late 2009, the company has collected R5.3-million in donations – slightly short of its initial target of R6-million.“We’ve certainly turned the corner,” SABT’s managing director Fiona Budd said at a media briefing in Johannesburg on 6 August. “The money received will give us breathing space and time to build up new relationships.”The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund donated a whopping R2.65-million, while the National Arts Council gave R500 000. Further funds came from well-known South Africans, including Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron and world-famous artist William Kentridge.A private donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, donated R1-million, which astounded Budd: “I thought my eyes had blurred because of so many zeros,” she said.The SABT was hit hard by the economic recession in 2009, as fewer patrons turned up for its seasons. It was also affected by some of its prominent funders pulling out to support more welfare-orientated initiatives like orphanages.Despite this, the company managed to stay debt-free and continued with its outreach programmes in the underprivileged Gauteng communities of Alexandra, Soweto and Katlehong.Where the funds will go The R5.3-million will be used for running the core businesses of the company, including staging productions, settling of music copyrights and paying salaries.A huge chunk of the funds will also go towards buying expensive tailor-made pointe shoes for the dancers, who need a new pair for every season, SABT’s spokesperson Samantha Saevitzon said. The pairs bought now will only last until mid-2011.The SABT has additional fundraising schemes to sustain it in the long run, with its most prominent one being “The Hall of One Thousand Stars”. This is appealing to 1 000 patrons to donate a minimum of R50 every four weeks in the hopes of generating at least R50 000 a month. This money will help keep the company and its social projects afloat.“The Hall of One Thousand Stars is bringing in a good income for us,” said Budd. “Some of our patrons give more R50 a month. We try to make ourselves more sustainable.”Fundraising criticalThe SABT recently created a new role within the company: stakeholder relationships manager, which is “essentially a fundraising position”, Budd said. Teboho Nkoana, who comes from a sales and marketing background, has been appointed for the job.Dirk Weyershausen, a German danseur practising in Norway, said ballet in several European countries is sustained because they “get a lot of their budget from the state”.But not all companies are that lucky. The SABT is no different from many groups across the world which rely on donations to cover the exorbitant costs of putting on a quality season.“I have great respect for doing fundraising, like the SABT does, to keep a company going,” Weyershausen said.The German national is currently working with the SABT on the upcoming season of Carmen, an acclaimed “sizzling and sultry” ballet that premiered in France in 1874. Weyershausen will dance the lead role of Don José, rotating with local and overseas greats like Xola Putye, Humberto Montero and Adam Thurlow.With Carmen needing a cast of about 35 dancers, the South African production will be a big collaboration with individuals from the Cape Town City Ballet and the internationally acclaimed Weyershausen and Thurlow, who comes from Australia.Youngsters trained by the SABT’s Alexandra and Soweto outreach programmes will take the supporting roles. “It’s important that these children are exposed to the environment of theatre, to see what they are training for,” said the company’s senior principal dancer Iain MacDonald.
South African captain Graeme Smith on Tuesday said since a few World Cup berths are still on offer, the players would be under pressure to perform in the one-day series against India.South Africa captain Graeme Smith.Smith said the five-match series, beginning on Wednesday, will be a tough but exciting assignment for both the sides. “I think it is going to be another exciting series, as the Test series was. Both teams have some quality players. A number of players are still playing for spots in the World Cup squad, so it adds an extra incentive to the series.”Any player would love to go to the World Cup and have the opportunity to perform well. I guess there’s always that added pressure on the players to perform,” Smith said on the eve of the opening match at Kingsmead.Smith said the series is being played in different conditions from that of sub-continent but they want to go into the World Cup with on a winning note. “We have to realise that World Cup’s played in totally different conditions to what we are going to be playing here.We would love to have the confidence of performing well here and being successful, it’s not necessarily going to define how well we are going to be in the World Cup. “Our mindset is very crucial here in terms of playing really good cricket and getting the confidence up and players getting good performances under their belt. It’s a very different style of playing in the sub-continent and the selection will revolve around that,” he said.advertisementOn Jacques Kallis unavailability due to an injury, Smith said, “Obviously Jacques injury does hamper (but) how we control things. He is the main front line all-rounder for us.We are really working hard on developing someone like Wayne Parnell into that sort of all-rounder mould.”We got Robin Peterson and Johan Botha in that all-rounders’ mode also and someone like Faf de Plessis who is a very good all-round cricketer. There are options but in South Africa, someone like Parnell heads the pack in terms of developing his batting and his bowling and trying to get him to a point where he could play that number eight role with both bat and ball,” he said adding that Kallis “won’t play any role in this series”.Smith feels players’ mental toughness would be crucial to success in the series.”I think mindset is always crucial. A lot of our guys have been playing longer formats of the game. Both teams are feeling out things and we certainly want to start being well prepared. We have done some really good preparation behind the scenes.”It’s just about the players backing their abilities and skills and going out and executing what they want to do tomorrow. If you start slowly in the shorter formats of the game, you can get found out.”Smith predicted that a score of more than 220 would be competitive on the Kingsmead track.”There is a lot of stories around Kingsmead going around at night. It depends on the surface. Lately. There has not been a lot of grass on the surface. It can swing a little bit at night. I expect it to be a very good surface tomorrow. It’s ranged from 220 to 300 being competitive here,” he said.Talking about the wickets here, that are different from India, he said, “It’s going to be very difficult to produce that. Generally, one-day wickets in South Africa have always been very good round the country there have always been decent surfaces. The ball can swing around a little bit generally the surfaces are great. It’s going to be very difficult to produce Nagpur out at the Wanderers.”Smith is happy to have an attacking spinner in Imran Tahir in his side but said, they don’t, want out the new comer under pressure.”Where we play him and how we play him is also a crucial aspect in his management. For us to have an attacking option, especially through the middle overs, is an asset to have. It’s something we haven’t really had.”I don’t want to put too much pressure on him and expectation. I just want to let him find his feet and grow in the environment. He has proven to be very successful in domestic cricket and we would like him to find his feet at the international level.”- With PTI inputs