“VUSA” is the isiXhosa word for waken, arise.
The VUSA program which dates back to 2006 is a Bishops based community initiative which has been giving opportunities to young boys from Nyanga Township in Cape Town through rugby coaching.
One particular success story is current Stormers loose forward, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, and am proud to be associated with his early rugby development when myself and great friend Vuyisile (Veeg) Mbula were coaching at the then Bishops Rugby Academy (VUSA) in 2006.
The VUSA program, official name VUSA Rugby and Learning Academy, enjoyed a very busy and successful start to the 2016 season. The boys, now all residents of Langa and Khayelitsha communities, had been bused to Bishops three times a week for rugby coaching, Maths and English lessons.
They participated in the Skeeles 7s for the first time in their careers, a wonderful experience for them and the local southern suburbs schools playing a number of games against Bishops U12 and U13 teams, Fish Hoek and Durbanville Primary. They acquitted themselves brilliantly playing a fast –paced, high-skilled game and winning some of the games.
At this year’s tournament the VUSA boys brought it up a notch playing sublime rugby and beating one of the major schools Rondebosch by six tries to one in one of their matches in the two day tournament.
The programme is sponsored by Calulo Shipping (founding partner) and Investec (official sponsor). These funds allow the program directors to run the daily programme (meals, teaching, coaching and transport) and to create experiences for the boys. The boys at the VUSA Rugby and Learning Academy were fortunate to attend the Stormers games where the boys met their heroes, Scarra Ntubeni, Siya Kolisi and VUSA Academy graduate Sikhumbuzo Notshe. The boys also got to train with the Fijian 7s team during the Cape Town leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
The highlight of the season was by far their attendance of the Springboks vs Ireland game in Newlands last year, a moving experience as the boys sang that national anthem at the top of their lungs!
The academy has recently introduced a physical literacy programme at the Dalukhanyo Creche. This entails coaches from the community running daily programmes that involve whole body movement, gross motor skills and ball skills. These sessions are a highlight for the children.
The Academy is now working on enhancing the Busy Bees Rugby Club in Langa, which has youth teams playing Western Province (WP) primary school league. This will then allow a natural conduit for rugby playing boys to continue playing at the next age groups. The goal of the Academy is to have the a Langa Team playing in the WP Super A League. This will be a massive boost to the rugby loving Langa community.
There are number of opportunities that exist for any individuals or companies that wish to get involved. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any queries.
“We hope to awaken our boys’ talents and to introduce them to the endless opportunities that exist in the world” – Brendan Fogarty
Ike Bam/Brendan Fogarty