Please Do Not Die Dale, Too Much Music Still Inside Your Heart.



At the first day of the Iqhawe Week I learnt two very important lessons.

Lesson 1.

Everybody and I mean everybody will advise you "if you want to sell your product use an attractive and well groomed person. At my age it is also advisable that she must be pretty and nice." At the first day of the Iqhawe Week they were all there. Nice suits and dresses and some very nice.

Then I met Dale Sandton. I hope he does not get upset but if you look at his picture above he certainly does not fit in the mould of a successfull salesman. That is until he start selling the South African Rugby Legends Association's Vuka Rugby program and the Iqhawe Week. Passion is the first word that comes to mind when describing Dale. His whole body radiate passion and dedication for rugby and what he is doing.

That is not saying that the other seven full time staff members of SARLA and all their helpers is not passionate. To organise a tournament like this, is testament to their work ethic, dedication and passion. The Vuka program will not be as successfull if it was not for their dedication and passion.

Dale's final words to me was that he does not want to die while his music is still in his heart. And everytime I saw Dale today I heard him repeating those words. "I do not want to die while my music is still in my heart."

Lesson 2

Do not critisise before you know the all the facts. Us, the South African rugby public is always quick to complain and accuse South African Rugby for not doing enough to develop rugby in disadvantaged communities who have traditionally been excluded from structured rugby training and grassroots level conditions. 

Then I was introduced to VUKA RUGBY - VUKA Rugby is a partnership between the South African Rugby Legends (SARLA) and the South African Rugby Union (SARU). The league is fully-endorsed by SARU and forms part of their National Development objectives. VUKA Rugby is a sustainable rugby programme developed by SARLA and aimed at the evolvement and promotion of rugby in disadvantage communities and areas where it is not being played. VUKA rugby is in line with the National objectives of the Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, of bringing rugby to the masses on a National level. It is a programme which runs for the entire season and 2016 is the seventh successful year that it has been in operation.

"By nurturing the personal growth and athletic potential of these youngsters, we hope to give them the skills and confidence they need to succeed both on and off the field. Our broad aim is to uplift individuals, and by extension communities, create advancement opportunities for talented players and create a deeper, broader pool of professional level talent.

Under VUKA, some 2200 youngsters receive regular training from qualified coaches. Their teams engage with one another at regional tournaments; they come to know a sense of belonging and aspiration. As Nelson Mandela has said, ‘Sport has the power to change the world………it speaks to youth in a language they understand and creates hope where there was only despair’.

Not only do our 15 to 17 year-old VUKA fellows participate in vital team-work, but they are also introduced to life-skills via the ‘Cool Play’ programme. The benefits of structured and professionally managed activities for kids after their school day has ended produces caring individuals; it steers them away from all the unpalatable alternatives, such as drug-taking and gang participation."

The u/15 Legends Iqhawe (meaning "Champion") Week is an extension of Vuka Rugby on a Provicial Level.

In September 2013, the inaugural U15 Legends Iqhawe Week was held in Cape Town.  The aim of this tournament is to create a gateway, for players from new, introductory, small, rural, lower-league and non traditional schools to participate in a tournament equal in stature to that of the National Craven Week and Grant Khomo Week.

This years event is taking place in Johannesburg, hosted by the Golden Lions Rugby Union, with 14 provinces sending representative teams - namely South Western Districts, Boland, Western Province, Eastern Province, Boland, Kwa Zulu Natal, Golden lions, Griquas, Pumas, Blue Bulls, Leopards, Boland, Griffons, Falcons and Free State.

What a great opportunity for these young players to showcase the incredible talent that is so prevelant in their communities. Today I saw several players that has oodles of talent and can not wait for the next two days.

Back to Dale and his wisdom - “Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul. Listen to that inner voice, and don’t get to the end of your life and say, ‘What if my whole life has been wrong?”

"Dale and all involved in Vuka and Iqhawe Week - Please do not die as South Africa and Rugby needs to hear that wonderfull music coming from your big hearts. South African Rugby needs to hear that final note before you die."