Soweto Inter-Schools Tournament 2016

by Rebecca Graffy

On Thursday, 16th June, the GFDA hosted the 2nd annual Soweto Inter-Schools Tournament, a Youth Day outreach programme commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising.  

Youth Day is a public holiday which commemorates the Soweto Uprising of 1976, which resulted in a wave of protests across the country.  It came in response to multiple issues with the Bantu Education Act and the government edict in 1974 that Afrikaans be used as medium of instruction for certain subjects in black schools.

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In 2015, the GFDA launched a partnership with Move-it, Moving Matters, a Johannesburg based NGO that provides physical education programs to 50 + schools in the Soweto region. Together, we taught a group of 20 interns, who were unemployed and came from a disadvantaged background, how to play and coach Ultimate.  These interns (called the Movers) were then dispatched to 20 schools throughout Soweto to teach students in turn.

By 9am on the public holiday, over 200 grade 6 learners representing the 20 schools had arrived at the Moletsane Sports Complex in Soweto, and were eagerly awaiting a day of Ultimate.  The tournament kicked off with pomp and flare as the students marched proudly behind banners, singing their schools’ fight songs. After an opening ceremony of speeches, and a rousing rendition of the national anthem, the games officially commenced.IMG_3380

Each school fielded a mixed team of 10 players, accompanied by their teachers and a coach from the Movers. Volunteers from the GFDA (including players from Skyveld, Wits and Tuks) provided logistical support and cheerleadering for each team.

Each team played a series of four 10-minutes seeding matches to vie for position, and competition was fierce. Players showcased their raw talent and a love for the game in layouts, jumps, foot blocks, and massive pulls. With each progressive round the level of play improved as teams played with increasing cohesion and some even deployed offensive plays. The knockout rounds began after a break for lunch, and found Igugu and Usindiso–defending champions–in the finals bracket. The 4 schools at the bottom of the table–Lilydale, Sefika, Bafikile and Mara–competed for the wooden spoon in a round robin tournament.

 

ROUND OF 16 QUATER FINAL SEMI FINAL FINAL WINNER
Isiseko
Isiseko
Mambo
Isiseko
Isu’Lihle
Isu’Lihle
Zola
Igugu
Vukazenzele
Ekuphumelele
Ekuphumelele
Igugu
Igugu
Igugu
Montshiwa
Usindiso
Elsie Ngidi
Elsie Ngidi
Moriting
Elsie Ngidi
Hitekani
Hitekani
Tshilidzi
Usindiso
Lekang
Lekang
Phuleshaka
Usindiso
King Zwelithini
Usindiso
Usindiso

Giving the teams some time to rest up before the finals, the Soweto Movers took on the Orange Farm Ultimates for an exciting exhibition game. Schoolchildren lined the field, cheering on as their coaches strutted their stuff. The final score was 7 to 1, Orange Farm Ultimates.

The finals match was a gripping back and forth. Despite strong plays from both sides, Usindiso emerged victorious.

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The day concluded in same the ceremoniousness with which it started. Leaders from the Soweto community who had come to support the students each said a few words. Usindiso and Igugu were acknowledged for their first place and runner up finishes, and Sefika was awarded Spirit of the Game.  

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