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Vunipola suffers fractured arm

first_imgThe back-row only returned from a three-month spell on the sidelines with a knee injury in the Premiership victory against Wasps last weekend and suffered another cruel setback at the Liberty Stadium.Vunipola was replaced at half-time in the Champions Cup clash, which ended 15-15, and Saracens on Sunday revealed that an X-ray showed he had fractured his forearm, just three weeks before England start the defence of their Six Nations title against Italy in Rome.”Billy is due to see a specialist later this week, when a timeframe for recovery may be defined,” said a Saracens spokesman.”But until that time Saracens will make no further comment. Saracens will issue a further statement once Billy has seen a specialist.”The luckless Vunipola had earlier given a strong indication that he was facing another frustrating period out of the game.He posted on Instagram: “One of these days I might actually be able to play more than 2 games without breaking (no pun intended).”I said it before and I’ll say again. God has a plan for me, it’s just hard having to be patient!”The loss of the Australia-born powerhouse will serve as huge blow to England head coach Eddie Jones, who must have been hugely encouraged by his performance against Wasps.Vunipola said after his comeback at the Ricoh Arena: “It means a great deal [to come back] and I feel I’ll be better for it next week and hopefully, if I can keep going like this, I’ll be back to where I was in no time.”It can be frustrating being injured but there can be higher powers at work. It taught me a huge lesson about looking after myself better in terms of recovery and sleep. I thought I did that better this time. Whatever runs for me, I’ll just try to smash it.”If I can convince Eddie I am in the right shape and playing well enough to be picked in his squad, then great. I want to play for England as much as I can and I have missed it but right now my biggest focus is playing well for Saracens and hopefully transferring that on to the pitch at Twickenham.”He will also be sorely missed by European champions Sarries, who are in great danger of missing out on the Champions Cup quarter-finals after they were held by the Ospreys. Photo Getty Images. Caption: Saracens and England’s Billy Vunipolalast_img read more

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Bolt points to Rio with more gold in his hands

first_imgBEIJING (AP): Hard as this is to believe, there were questions about Usain Bolt when the World Championships first started. Was he healthy enough? Was he fit enough? Was he – gasp! – fast enough? Yes, yes, and a resounding yes. The Jamaican great left the Bird’s Nest with three more gold medals and ended any suspicions about his dominance. Just in time, too, with the Olympic track competition in Rio de Janeiro starting 49 weeks from now. Once again, the Americans struggled getting the baton around the track. The men’s 4x100m relay was disqualified for stepping outside its lane on an exchange between Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers. That marked the eighth time since 1995 the American men have either been disqualified or failed to finish at the Worlds or the Olympics. The women’s 4x400m squad wasn’t clean on an exchange between Allyson Felix and Francena McCorory, opening the door for a Jamaican win. The U.S. has gone to camps to fix these foibles. Bottom line: It may simply be between the ears. KENYA’S GOOD GIVE ‘EM A HAND Counting Bolt out Kenya finished with 16 medals – and not one in the men’s marathon. Javelin thrower Julius Yego won the first gold medal in a field event for a country renowned for distance running. All the doubts about Bolt – his fitness and whether Justin Gatlin might be primed to beat him – only provided more fuel. “People pretty much counted me out this season,” Bolt said. “They said, ‘He’s not going to make it. That’s it for him.’ I came out and proved you can never count Usain Bolt out. I’m a champion and I’ll show up when it matters.” As if there was ever a doubt. The only thing that tripped him up was a clumsy cameraman who ran into him from behind on a two-wheel motorised vehicle. He even bounced back from that, anchoring the 4x100m relay team to gold after winning the 100 and 200 on his own. One thing that became clear as the meet went on is that Bolt doesn’t just beat people by being faster, he gets in their heads, too. Gatlin lost the 100 on a last-second lean that many viewed as a pressure-induced mistake. The U.S. relay team missed the handoff – and Bolt said he pretty much expected that. “We just know the key thing is just to get the baton around. Doesn’t matter,” Bolt said. “Because the US knows we always have the best team, they tend to panic. Pressure gets to them sometimes.” Gatlin appears to be the only man with the speed to push Bolt. Beating him is another matter. “What will it take?” Gatlin said. “It will take staying in front. That’s what it’s going to take.” Good luck with that. Here are some other things we learned from the World Championships in Beijing:last_img read more

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Oilers, Barrolle Rotate Scores

first_imgLPRC Oilers and Mighty Barrolle over the weekend leveled the marks in the ongoing ‘Best-out-of-three’ basketball matches, dubbed semi-finals at the Open-air Sports Commission on Broad Street.The triple basketball champs LPRC-Oilers narrowly pinned NPA Pythons, 76-75 points on Friday to rotate the score, having suffered in the first derby 85-69 to Pythons.On Saturday, Mighty Barrolle thumped Timber Wolves 58-56 points to redeem the score after being defeated 54-49 points.Both Friday and Saturday’s games were described by spectators as pulsating victories.In the second division, Georgia Blazers and Heats crossed over to the finals, known as the ‘best-out-of-five,’ which is expected to kick-off Friday, June 27, 2014.The Blazers and Heats qualified when they won their two last games against Uhuru Prince and Bushrod Bulls; 80-77 and 55-54 points respectively.In the female division, K-Delta also qualified after winning her last match 50-26 points, while Timber Wolves are at the verge, beating Supreme Sister, 72-26 points.Meanwhile, up to press time yesterday, Mighty Barrolle and Timber Wolves as well as LPRC Oilers and NPA Pythons were scheduled to clash to decide the winners for the grand finals.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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16-year-old commits suicide

first_imgMerissa Singh, 16, of Number 2 Village, East Canje, Berbice, allegedly took her life on Saturday afternoon.It is believed that the young student of JC Chandisingh Secondary School of Port Mourant, East Berbice, Corentyne, overdosed on pressure pills.Dead: 16-year-old Merissa SinghThe lifeless body of Singh was discovered by a family friend who was asked to open the teen’s bedroom door at the behest of the girl’s grandmother after she noticed the girl missing for a long time.The body of the student was taken to the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital where she was pronounced dead. This newspaper understands that Singh lived with her grandmother after the death of her mother, two years ago.Hundreds of the young girl’s friends and teachers, on social media, expressed utter shock and sadness at the passing of Singh. Some friends also noted that the teen may have been suffering from emotional distress but never showed it to anyone.“R.I.P Marissa, an extraordinary and very talented person, so sad to know she’s gone at such an early age” was one of the many comments that friends wrote.Merissa Singh was described by peers and teachers as a talented and jovial person who always had a smile whenever she was around.The Ancient County has been known to have the highest suicide rate in the world, even after a number of rallies and anti-suicidal campaigns have been hosted.last_img read more

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West Brom vow to take strong action against fans involved in FA Cup unrest

first_imgWest Brom have vowed to take strong action against any of the club’s fans found to have been involved in disturbances at the FA Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa on Saturday.Seats were thrown from the Albion section and Villa supporters invaded the pitch twice during the game as Tim Sherwood’s men beat the Baggies 2-0 on Saturday to reach a Wembley semi-final.Police have made 17 arrests related to the game and it is understood the Football Association’s investigation into the incidents will begin on Monday.Villa issued an apology after the game to “the Football Association, the West Bromwich Albion directors, manager Tony Pulis and all his staff and players” and Albion announced in a statement on Sunday that the apology had been “received in the spirit with which it was intended”.“West Bromwich Albion note the public apology issued by Aston Villa FC in the wake of the disturbing scenes during and after the FA Cup quarter-final at Villa Park,” read the statement.“The apology is received in the spirit with which it was intended.“The club is also aware of reports of serious misbehaviour involving some of its own supporters.“It issues an uncompromising reminder today that any supporter found guilty of disorder offences can expect the appropriate sanction from the club. West Bromwich Albion will continue to operate zero tolerance to any fans who bring the club’s reputation into disrepute.“The club also welcomes the FA investigation into the scenes and how they came about; West Bromwich Albion will co-operate fully.“Pitch invasions cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. The safety of the club’s players and staff during and at the end of the game was clearly compromised and that has to be a subject of deep concern for everyone involved.” 1 West Brom boss Tony Pulis last_img read more

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O’DONNELL WINS THE ARDARA 5K – WHERE DID YOU COME?

first_imgMethodist Church Ardara 5kPlace Bib Name Gender AG Club Time1. 555 Charlie O Donnell m SM B.O.G. AC 19:32,52. 590 Brian McCabe m SM 20:43,73. 554 Paul Mc Kelvey m SM B.O.G. AC 21:06,84. 567 Andy Gilchrist m SM Tír Chonaill A.C. 21:36,85. 2570 Brian Mc Gonagle m M40 Tír Chonaill A.C. 21:45,06. 582 Stephen Baskin m SM 22:40,27. 553 Josh Kelly m B16 Ballymore Cobh AC 23:13,18. 572 Jackie Harvey f W40 Tír Chonaill A.C. 24:29,79. 583 Vera Haughey f W40 Tír Chonaill A.C. 24:38,910. 562 Edwina Sweeney f W40 24:41,211. 571 Peter Duddy m SM 25:02,812. 586 Patricia Hegarty f W40 25:20,113. 578 Rosemary Dewhirst f W40 Tír Chonaill A.C. 25:55,514. 598 Anne Bowden f W40 25:58,315. 563 Majella Cunningham m SM 26:16,016. 595 Don Earley m M40 26:17,617. 585 Michelle Delaney f SW 26:35,118. 587 Nicola Bonner f SW 27:30,119. 599 Angela Trimble f SW 28:53,620. 561 Patrick Jnr Gallagher (Larry)B16 m B16 29:41,521. 560 Patrick Gallagher (Larry) m M40 29:43,022. 592 Bernie Molloy f W40 Tír Chonaill A.C. 30:37,023. 565 Martin Dewhirst m M40 30:45,324. 589 John Young m SM 30:53,225. 568 Lorna Lee Curran f SW 30:59,826. 556 Trevor Walker m M40 31:12,627. 566 Frances Gilchrist f SW Tír Chonaill A.C. 33:19,528. 569 Donna Burke f SW 34:40,529. 557 Fiona Boyd f SW 34:40,630. 597 Macie Walker f G16 34:48,231. 596 Dorothy Walker f W40 35:01,132. 591 Darren Whelan m SM 35:07,433. 559 Laura Young f G16 36:40,234. 593 Rose Marie Maguire f SW 37:40,735. 594 Christina Boyd f SW 37:40,736. 564 Fintan Dewhirst m B16 38:01,437. 577 Caitríona Dewhirst f G16 Tír Chonaill A.C. 38:10,538. 581 Mike Jones m SM 38:10,939. 573 Shirley Dewhirst f W40 38:14,240. 580 Jenny Dewhirst f SW 38:14,341. 584 Desmond Davis m M40 41:49,842. 588 Hilary Irwin f SW 42:12,943. 558 Rebecca Young f G16 46:10,344. 576 Grace f G16 Tír Chonaill A.C. 46:36,445. 575 Saoirse Mc Gonagle f G16 46:38,346. 579 Paula Dewhirst f SW 47:23,147. 574 Bronagh Heverin f W40 47:31,2O’DONNELL WINS THE ARDARA 5K – WHERE DID YOU COME? was last modified: July 6th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Ardara 5kdonegallast_img read more

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CHILDMINDING COSTING €16,500 A YEAR, CLAIMS DONEGAL CHILDCARE COMMITTEE

first_imgIt now costs Donegal families €16,500 a year for full-time childcare for a family of two children, a new study has shown.A creche – pic posed by models.The shocking figures are contained in an extensive report commissioned by the Donegal County Childcare Committee.According to the report, typical full-time childcare costs range from €730 – €1,100 per month, and a two-child family would spend €16,500 annually on full-time childcare. The report, entitled “Supporting Working Families – Releasing a Brake on Economic Growth”, examines potential policy options to address the childcare obstacles that exist as a barrier to employment.With 266,000 households with children under five years of age, the report confirmed that these costs are a barrier to the workforce.One statistic shows that 26% of parents with children at nine months of age indicating that they were prevented from returning to work or training as a result of expensive childcare.These barriers to employment are particularly severe among lower income groups, with 56% from this group indicating that childcare prevented them from looking for a job. Manager of Donegal County Childcare Committee, Avril McMonagle said the report throws light on a growing problem and illustrates the extent to which childcare costs are putting a brake on Ireland’s economic growth, restricting a significant number of parents from returning to work after having children.“With few solutions to this problem proposed until now, this report outlines two policy options for combating this barrier to the workforce, with a particular focus on incentivising the hard hit lower income working families.“Primary research shows that there would be strong interest in such schemes and by facilitating unemployed parents to return to work or remain in employment, these initiatives would see an economic benefit to the taxpayer in the long run.”Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald said she welcomed the economic assessment contained in this report.“This data further contributes to our understanding of the pressures on Irish families but also the very significant economic and societal importance of the early years and childcare sector in Ireland. “I have no doubt that this report will help spark debate and inform policy makers as we consider further development in this important area.”The full report can be downloaded from www.donegalchildcare.com.CHILDMINDING COSTING €16,500 A YEAR, CLAIMS DONEGAL CHILDCARE COMMITTEE was last modified: December 4th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:500childcareCostsDonegal County Childcare Committee€16last_img read more

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Dinosaurs Stretched, Shrunk and Twisted Into Birds

first_imgSize matters, thought paleontologists envisioning the evolution of birds from dinosaurs.  The old story was that dinosaurs shrunk as their arms were becoming wings.  That view has been challenged by a new fossil reported in Science.1  Alan H. Turner (American Museum of Natural History) and four others reported a “basal dromeosaurid” that was small long before it ever dreamed of flying.  Furthermore, three related lineages subsequently grew to monsters up to two orders of magnitude larger.  “Thus, miniaturization preceded the avialan node and the origin of flight,” they concluded, “and as a result, hypotheses relating ontogenetic or metabolic controls on miniaturization to flight origin in theropods must be equally capable of explaining the size reduction within ancestral paravians and the iterative trends of size increase in deinonychosaurs” which include the presumably fearsome Velociraptor and Utahraptor.    The press release at North Carolina State University, where co-author Julia Clarke is an assistant professor of paleontology, focused on the puzzles this find represents.  “Height or flight?” the title asks.  “Fossil Answers Some Questions About Evolution of Flight in Dinosaurs, Raises Others.” Paleontologists have long theorized that miniaturization was one of the last stages in the long series of changes required in order for dinosaurs to make the evolutionary “leap” to take flight and so become what we call birds.  New evidence from a tiny Mongolian dinosaur, however, may leave some current theories about the evolution of flight up in the air.The small, 28-inch species, Mahakala omnogovae, was classified as a dromeosaur – a cousin of Velociraptor.  Discerned to be a young adult, it did not fit the picture of miniaturization occurring late on the trail to birds.  The press release was honest about the problems:If miniaturization of dinosaurs occurred well before the origin of flight, then this raises other questions about the ways that paleontologists have traditionally explained trends in the early history of birds.    “We had closely linked smaller size in dinosaurs including birds to flight, changes in growth strategy and metabolism: They got progressively smaller, grew faster, and flew,” Clarke adds.  “Now we see that small size occurs well before many other innovations in locomotion and growth strategy.  It forces us to look at the ways we were explaining trends within this part of Dinosauria, and to question our previous assumptions about causal factors in, and timing of, the acquisition of attributes seen in living birds.”The touch of humility in this quotation stood in stark contrast to the version in National Geographic News.  Titled, “New ‘Mini’ Dinosaur a Step in Bird Evolution Path,” the report by Kevin Holden Platt was mostly confident that this fossil helps explain how dinosaurs took flight.  “An 80-million-year-old fossil recently uncovered in the Gobi desert could be a key piece of the evolutionary puzzle of how massive dinosaurs gave rise to today’s comparatively tiny birds,” he began.  He quoted a paleontologist who claimed that “the new find fits perfectly into the theory that dinos evolved into birds.”  Only in the body of the article, on page two, did the problems surface:Today consensus is building among paleontologists that dinosaurs and birds are linked.   But the experts disagree over how that evolutionary twist helped ancient birds escape being wiped out with the rest of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.    “Paleontologists really don’t know the answer to that.  Why some animals survive mass extinctions while others don’t is one of the most difficult questions in paleontology,” lead study author Turner said.    “Flying doesn’t seem to have hurt birds, yet pterosaurs—which are not dinosaurs—flew but went extinct.”Other than that, the article was confident that Mahakala was a prize specimen for the evolution-of-flight display cases.  Of special note was Platt’s insistence that the bird had feathers.  Finding imaginary feathers on dinosaurs seems to be a habit at National Geographic (see 06/13/2007, 02/08/2006, 09/27/2000).  The NCSU press release said nothing about feathers.  The original paper only said that another species, Jinfengopteryx, classified as a troodontid, had feathers.  There has been controversy, however, about this classification.  Originally it was placed with Archaeopteryx, a true feathered flyer.  Some paleontologists later felt it has more in common with troodontids, but the classification remains questionable.  The artist reconstruction on Wikipedia looks like a roadrunner with long tail feathers.  Even the decision to place the troodonts with dromeosaurs has had a checkered past; in many respects, its members seem to have more in common with Archaeopteryx and birds.  Only Jinfengopteryx had clear feather impressions.    Nevertheless, Kevin Platt gushed about feathers in his article.  Some of this may have been due to the lead author’s opinions on the matter.  “The fossils indicate that the new species was not only feathered but also likely had winglike forelimbs and hind limbs, Turner said.”  Platt quoted only believers, like Xu Xing and Mark Norell, to confirm the suspicion that Mahakala had feathers.  He even stated flatly that the specimen “measures just 27.5 inches (70 centimeters) from its head to the tip of its feathered tail.”  The artist reconstruction in the article showed the specimen well endowed with wing feathers.    No other source checked said that Mahakala had feathers.  Turner and National Geographic, however, insisting that it was a dromeosaur, had their feathers a-flutter.  They seemed excited that this little bird-like fossil might be related to the terrors of Jurassic Park.  Turner confidently put imaginary feathers on those monsters, too, saying, “The Velociraptor would be completely covered in feathers.”  No Velociraptor fossil has ever been found with feathers.21Alan H. Turner, Diego Pol, Julia A. Clarke, Gregory M. Erickson and Mark A. Norell, “A Basal Dromaeosaurid and Size Evolution Preceding Avian Flight,” Science 7 September 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5843, pp. 1378-1381, DOI: 10.1126/science.1144066.2The Wikipedia entry on Velociraptor, biased in favor of the dinosaur-to-bird theory, only claims that earlier dromeosaurs had feathers (referencing Xu Xing’s classification of Microraptor with dromeosaurs).  Then it makes the following inference and admission: “In light of the fact that the ancestors of Velociraptor were feathered and possibly capable of flight, it is most likely that Velociraptor bore feathers too, since even flightless birds today retain most of their feathers.  While there is as yet no direct fossil evidence to confirm that Velociraptor had feathers, there is no reason to suspect it of being an exception.”The twists and leaps that evolutionists make to keep their belief intact is an affront to scientific integrity.  Here, an assumption that dinosaurs shrank on their way to flight has been shown wrong.  At least the NCSU press release showed a little bit of honesty that “we have a problem here” but that was undone by Turner and Platt’s shameless boasting about things they don’t know.  The original paper’s chart of dinosaur phylogeny is a jumbled mess, with feathers here and there and sizes varying all over the place.  Deeper investigation shows a good deal of doubt and controversy about each group’s place in the imaginary tree.  The believers in the consensus keep striving to marginalize the critics.    Once again, there is no simple, straight line from the alleged ancestor to the alleged descendent (cf. 09/01/2007).  The assumption of evolution, however, never gets doubted.  Evolution may have to stretch, squish and twist to keep the observations from falsifying the theory, but Darwin Gumby always comes out the hero.  We are watching one of the worst cases of belief trumping evidence in the history of science.  When all the fossils get sorted out, and all the facts come to light, certain people may have a lot of egg on their faces.(Visited 27 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Dreamfields changes lives

first_imgThe boys stride confidently on to the field, all kitted out. John Perlman is living his dream of bringing football to youngsters. Silas Mashava loves working with the players. Girls are increasingly enjoying playing football.(Images: Daniel Born/Dreamfields)MEDIA CONTACTS • John PerlmanCEO, Dreamfields+27 83 443 0330Lucille DavieThousands of schoolchildren across the country want the holidays to end. There’s one simple reason: a new school term means DreamLeagues kicks in again.“From everything we’ve heard, in townships and villages around the country, young footballers have been counting the days until DreamLeagues kick off again in the second term,” according to the website.DreamLeagues are run by Dreamfields, which was launched on a wet and windy day in Orange Farm, in the far south of Johannesburg, in 2007, and so far R34.2-million (US$3.45-million) has been invested in school football.It is the dream of journalist and talk show host John Perlman, and consists of supplying primary schools with DreamBags. A DreamBag is a large bag filled with 15 pairs of boots and shin guards, and 15 sets of socks, shirts, shorts, and three footballs. Kit is supplied in the colour chosen by the schools, with boots given in the sizes requested.The schools play weekly football in well-organised leagues, and the standard of play is showing marked improvement. Children in the DreamLeagues – as opposed to one-off tournaments and knockout competitions – derive enormous benefits from sporting activity that is regular and predictable. “They get better at dribbling and passing, shooting and tackling. More important, they learn valuable life lessons, that losing is not disastrous, because the next week and the next game gives you an opportunity to work hard, improve and grow as a player and a team,” says the organisation.More than 2 200 teams around the country so far have pulled out their kit from DreamBags, bags “full of possibility and promise”, with DreamLeagues being played in the far corners of each province.Perlman says he started thinking about the idea in early 2006, prompted by the football World Cup in 2010 for which South Africa was preparing at the time. But in truth it goes back further than that.“My earliest dreams growing up were sparked by football. Life took me down other roads, but it was this beautiful game that first got me dreaming. After a career in journalism, it’s good to be back at the earliest source of my own ambitions,” he writes on the website.The idea is to supply schools outside of the country’s major cities, in far-flung rural areas where the need is often greater. And although only a fraction of the 20 000 primary schools countrywide have benefited so far, Perlman is happy with progress, saying it’s been important to break it down into “do-ables”. “We are starting to make a dent,” he says.PartnersThe dream is shared by several partners. The major sponsor is BHP Billiton, one of the world’s largest resource and mining companies, with major operations in Mpumalanga, Gauteng, the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.“BHP Billiton was the first company to get behind the Dreamfields Project and has committed to supporting schools and youth football until the end of 2015,” explains Perlman. The company first invested R6.5-million ($656 000) in Dreamfields in 2007, with a three-year contract, then renewed its support in 2010 with a five-year contract worth R15-million ($1.5-million). In addition, BHP Billiton has built fields in Richard’s Bay in KwaZulu-Natal, and Kuruman in Northern Cape, and another football pitch being created in Ogies in Mpumalanga.Other sponsors have come on board, like financial services giant Old Mutual, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, clothing retailer Edcon, banking and insurance provider First Rand, and Absa bank. Funds have also been raised from small businesses, as well as from children in more affluent schools. More than 95% of funds have been raised in South Africa.But there are other partners too: the departments of Basic Education, and Sports and Recreation, as well as the South African Football Association, with coaching support.Delivery of DreamBagsDreamfields focuses on children between the ages of 10 and 12 years. The delivery of the DreamBags to a school is an exciting event. The contents of the large bag are laid out, a bundle per player. Then each player is given his or her bundle, and that’s when things slow down a bit.When the bag is opened, there is a collective “Wow!” from the kids, says Silas Mashava, who heads Dreamfields’ Sustainable Football Programme. The kids have seen football heroes on TV, and have aspired to be a footballer all their young lives, he says, and now to see the dream laid out in front of them is something hard to contain. “To make that dream a reality is just so magical.” They jump in the air, and take a long time to dress and get ready to run on to the pitch. “This is part of what I want to be, or what I dream of,” Mashava says of what it means to the kids.“What I love most about Dreamfields is the way the opening of the DreamBags seems to change the mood of the children. They arrive at the DreamEvent looking tentative and quite shy – and then somehow, as each of them gets kitted up, the growing sense of themselves as a team takes hold and confidence begins to flow,” says Perlman.He recounts an event in Cape Town when a team opened their DreamBag and tried on their kit. The kids said the shoes didn’t fit them, although Dreamfields always gets shoe sizes from the school beforehand. It was a puzzle until he put his hand into the boots, and realised they hadn’t taken the tissue paper out of the toe of the boot. “I realised that they had never had new anything, they had always got hand-me-downs.”He adds: “DreamBags cost R7 500 ($757), but the inspiration they provide is priceless. We never stop being inspired by the way a DreamBag transforms a group of shy youngsters into a confident team of ten-foot-tall footballers.”It’s important that the kids realise they’re part of a collective, he emphasises. The trophy is given to the winning team, there are not best player prizes, although each kid gets a participation medal. The kits belong to the school, and are left at the school, so that other kids can use them for their games.There are no knock-out tournaments, but rather leagues, so they know that every week there’ll be a chance to play a game. “If you win this week, you’re not a winner, if you lose next week, you’re not a loser, you’re just taking part, and it’s up to you next week, you can do better. I think children instinctively understand that,” he explains.“But the world has got to give them both the predictable and the exceptional. You know that every Wednesday there will be a game, every Tuesday a practice; the exceptional is what you can make of it. If you can get that mix, it’s a recipe for uplifting schools, communities, families, and children in a positive way.”But many more people benefit from the beautiful game coming to their community. Local women set up food stalls when matches are played; taxi drivers get business from transporting teams; and local artisans get work in the form of making goal posts and stands. Kids not playing may be given paint to emblazon a wall with a message, or make a banner for their team.Local league obstaclesThere are several obstacles that have to be worked through in local school leagues, before schools get to play one another in DreamLeagues, where it’s hoped they will learn the valuable lessons of “discipline, determination and teamwork”.Transport is always an issue, particularly in the far rural areas. Getting dozens of kids from one side of town to the other to play another school is costly, for schools and parents whose budgets are stretched anyway. And, in some small towns there is no taxi service, so arrangements have to be made to bring in transport.Another issue is who is going to organise the games. Teachers often commute long distances to schools, so are not prepared to stay for extramural activities, in itself a disputed issue with the Department of Basic Education.But there are solutions, says Perlman. There are teachers who want to be involved, and see the children play and reap the benefits in confidence and school performance. And for these teachers, that means more job satisfaction – teaching in schools where kids are performing well. Dreamfields invests in these teachers, giving them coaching training, equipment and information, like helping them to draw up fixtures. And, there are government schemes for stipend-based jobs for coaches, aimed at unemployed youth.But perhaps the biggest solution is that Dreamfields won’t “make big arrangements with huge promises” that can’t be fulfilled. “We promise against a timetable,” says Perlman, with achievable goals. “We need some money, some will, and with a lot systemic solutions we can get things done.”At first league games were played between schools but now internal leagues within a school are encouraged. This means that the kids are playing every week, allowing more kids to get on the field, in six-a-side teams. And if there’s this kind of buzz in the schools, it rubs off on the teachers too.And the coaches, says Mashava. “Coaches are becoming more confident and they have a better idea of how to prepare their teams. The schools are becoming a closer community and the top players and coaches enjoy the respect they get as the best primary school team around.”More and more girls are getting involved in the game. Last year, says Mashava, there were 20 leagues for girls, which means that more than 10% of girls are now playing the game although they are still under-represented. Most are playing netball.Dream fieldsCreating dream fields can be a challenge, considering the maintenance required for a grassed field. As a result, most fields the organisation has created are soil fields. Perlman stresses that fields are only built in communal spaces, so that the local municipality can take responsibility for them. Dreamfields has assisted one school to build its own field, after it raised the money.The first two soil fields in the project were built in Tshisahulu in Limpopo, with funds supplied by businessman Vhonani Mufamadi, who grew up in the village. One of these fields has been converted to a grass pitch. Subsequently 10 more pitches have been built, two of them in Elliotdale in Eastern Cape, two in Driekoppies in Mpumalanga, and one in Richard’s Bay in KwaZulu-Natal.Two soil fields in Gopane in North West Province, and two in the Bushbuckridge area in Limpopo, have also been created. A soil field at the Soul City informal settlement near Krugersdorp in Gauteng has been built, funded by Germany and Bayern Munich star Philipp Lahm.So far 16 dream fields have been built around the country, 13 of them in small towns and rural areas. “Our fields act as hubs for football in disadvantaged communities and as focal points for community upliftment and pride.”Particular pleasureWhen asked what gives him particular pleasure working for Dreamfields, Mashava goes back to when he was a 12-year-old. “I aspired to be a footballer but we had no kit at school. The first time I played I got boots from my brother; I know the importance of kit.”This is a dream job for him, he enthuses, that gives him a great sense of pride, to see what the game brings to the kids – “the greatest joy”.Perlman says in response to the question: “I get really excited when we put together all the parts. I love the children and their excitement. The positive energy and intent often draws in positive people. We have just encountered amazing people with amazing ideas.”For him it is not just about the next player for Bafana Bafana, the national team. It’s about growing the next Constitutional Court judge, or the next entrepreneur who creates 20 jobs in his panel-beating operation, or the next woman who runs a chain of stores, or the next person who goes to university and becomes a civil engineer. “Football in particular has the potential to make them feel positive about themselves. You learn about winning, you learn about losing.”Filling heartsIn 2011, the team at Dreamfields received an email that “filled our hearts”. It was from Marlise Keyser, a teacher at Ysterplaat Primary School in Cape Town, a school that had received football equipment. She said: “You changed Ysterplaat Primary with one DreamBag.“That one bag gave the children a purpose, pride, a sense of belonging and responsibility. It’s a great tool for good discipline in the classroom, because as a teacher and coach the kids know that they won’t be allowed to play the next match if they don’t do their work or hand in projects.”Previously the school offered no sport, and kids were involved in drugs and gangs, with poor discipline the norm. “Today we have four football and four netball teams, regardless of the fact that we don’t have a field to practise on and that we have never played a home match before. We applied for Lotto funding and are hoping for the best.”A year later, Keyser wrote to say the school had received R180 000 ($18 200) from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. “We want to spend our money in the best possible way. Can you please advise us on where we can find an affordable, trustworthy landscaper?”Perlman sums it up. “At Dreamfields, we believe we’re doing much more than providing the equipment and opportunity to play football, important as that is. Young people need positive activities to complement and reinforce what they are trying to achieve in the classroom. They need positive groups to belong to and constructive activities to fill up their days. They need dreams, all kinds of dreams. And while none may go on to be professional players, the lessons learned on the field as part of a team will help guide them in their later lives – as lawyers and panel beaters, doctors and carpenters, family members and citizens.”last_img read more

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Sophiatown: recalling the loss

first_imgIt was on 9 February 1955 that the forced removal of over 60 000 people from Sophiatown began. Fifty years on, the City of Johannesburg pays tribute to the sons and daughters of its lost suburb.The mural ‘Sekoto in Sophiatown’ depicts Archbishop Trevor Huddleston walking the dusty streets of the famous suburb. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)Lucille DavieFifty years ago the first families were forcibly removed from their homes in Sophiatown, their possessions loaded on the back of police trucks, and dumped in Meadowlands in Soweto.Over the next eight years the vibrant Sophiatown was flattened and removed from the maps of Johannesburg to give way for Triomf – Afrikaans for “triumph” – a residential suburb for whites created by the policy of apartheid.On Wednesday 9 February 2005, the City of Johannesburg held a memorial service for those displaced families, followed by a tour of the suburb, with former residents telling their stories.It was a cold morning on Ray Street on 9 February 1955 when 2 000 policemen, armed with guns, knobkerries and rifles, forcefully moved the families of Sophiatown to Meadowlands, Soweto.Former residents tell their stories“It was very difficult for me to lose a house which I was born in”, says Patricia Mokoena-Harvey, who stayed at Gibson Street. “Children were screaming and crying. They didn’t understand what was happening – and it was very cold and raining. It was very traumatic.”A symbolic removal was re-enacted at 18 Ray Street, reflecting on the pain and sense of loss suffered by the community.“We were really suffering here in Sophiatown”, says Joane Mogoboya, formerly of Good Street, who was part of the second group of people moved in 1956.“Apartheid was very bad. Our parents owned shebeens, and when the police came things would be very bad”, Moboboya says. “They would handcuff my father and make my mother carry a case of beers on her head until the police who ordered her to do so changed their shift.”Mogoboya recalls how the “ladies” from Sophiatown used to dress up for the parties: “Designer clothes were our thing. Things that you are wearing now, we used to wear them. It’s just that now they have changed them a bit.”‘We were taken by surprise’Sophiatown was established in 1904. Before 1913 black South Africans had freehold rights, and they bought properties in the suburb. By the 1920s whites had moved out, leaving behind a vibrant community of blacks, coloureds, Indians and Chinese.When the removals scheme was promulgated, Sophiatown residents united to protest the forced removals, creating famous the slogan “Ons dak nie, ons phola hier” (We won’t move).“Father Trevor Huddleston, Nelson Mandela, Helen Joseph and Ruth First played an important role by becoming involved in the resistance”, says Victor Mokhine, who lived on Good Street.“We got a notice that we were going to be moved on 12 February 1955, but we were taken by surprise by thousands of policemen and soldiers, who were heavily armed”, Mokhine adds.“We were still preparing ourselves to protest the removals, and we had no choice because no one was ready for them – and besides, they were armed.”Some 65 000 people were taken to Meadowlands, Lenasia, Western Coloured Township (now Westbury) and Noordgesig.Those who did not qualify for resettlement had to find their own accommodation. Many people also moved to Orlando East and other parts of Soweto.“Because of the government’s racial classifications and strict separation of group areas, many families were split up”, says former resident Paul Mashinini. “Some members would be classified as coloured, others as black. Therefore they would be forced to live in separate townships.”Mahinini adds: “Number 1 Vincent Street, Meadowlands used to be the office of the Native Resettlement Board, where people had to report when they arrived in Meadowlands. Each family would be given two loaves of bread and a pint of milk. The family’s furniture and goods would be unloaded in front of their new home.”The removals continued for over eight years. Blue-collar Afrikaners were moved in, and still largely occupy the small houses that replaced the lively but desperately poor three-bedroomed homes and backyard shacks of Sophiatown.Archbishop Trevor HuddlestonThe Anglican Church of Christ the King in Ray Street, Triomf is the only complete remnant of Sophiatown.The church was made famous in the 1940s and ’50s by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston. Born in England in 1913, Huddleston came to South Africa in 1943 as an Anglican priest. He spent most of his time in Sophiatown and became one of apartheid’s most strident opponents – which is what led to him being recalled to the land of his birth in 1955.Huddleston never underestimated the effect Sophiatown had had on him. He spent the rest of his life longing to come back.He returned in South Africa in 1991 and was met at the airport by his great friend Walter Sisulu. He attempted to settle in South Africa in 1995, spending two months living in an old people’s home, but it didn’t work out and he returned to England, where he died in 1998 at the age of 85.In his book Naught for Your Comfort (1956) he writes: “Sophiatown! It is not your physical beauty which makes you so loveable; not that soft line of colour which sometimes seems to strike across the greyness of your streets: not the splendour of the evening sky which turns your drabness into gold – it is none of these things. It is your people.”Huddleston’s ashes are buried in the grounds of the Christ the King church, under monolith-shaped stones.After Wednesday’s tour and recollections, the former residents and guests moved to the South African Police Service offices in Meadowlands for lunch.It was from the Meadowlands police station that the police officers that undertook the removals 50 years ago came.Originally published 10 February 2005Source: City of JohannesburgWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

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