• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

Township surfing project nominated for SA Sports Award

Dean Knox (Third from right) with his Jonginenge team and some of the aspiring surfers from Nompumelelo Township. Photos by Craig Giese

The Jonginenge Township Surf Project scored a nomination for Recreation Body of the Year at the South African Sports Awards hosted by the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture in Durban, November 10. The category is for organisations that focus on social change, using sport to uplift people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The three-year-old project teaches twenty young boys (aged between eight and 15) from Nompumelelo township, in Beacon Bay how to surf and water safety at Nahoon beach every weekend. The Project was started by Dean Knox (41), a Nahoon resident who left his teaching job to pursue a business in environmental education and ecoadventure, now known as Jonginenge.

Wet suits, surfboards and towels are donated by local organisations and community members. “I am honoured by this nomination; it shows that our work is being noticed by the Department. It means that we should continue doing the best we can to help others,” said Knox.

He commended community members and local businesses who have been ensuring that the project stays alive by donating towards weekly costs of running the project. “The spirit of giving and support should teach the children to help each other. The project actively contributes to the improvement and upliftment of youth, to keep them away from the streets and places that will not benefit in building their futures,” he enthused.

The project is a door way for youngsters who have an interest in surfing as a professional sport. Seven boys from the project participated in the South African Grom Games in 2018 and their coach, Siphamandla Baliso, was awarded Coach of the Tournament. Knox hopes that the nomination will be the start of bigger things as the children have the potential to become professional sportsmen with the necessary training facilities and help from the



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