A record R850 000 was raised for Willowton Group’s Sunfoil Education Trust during the Sunfoil Test series between South Africa and England, giving more promising township players the life-changing chance of a cricketing career through its growing bursary scheme.
Although South Africa did not win the series, the good news is that the batsmen from both teams raised this impressive amount by notching up R1 000 for every 4 hit, R2 000 for every 6 hit and R2500 for every wicket taken in the four-match Test series. The Trust is funded in this way at every home Sunfoil Test series.
Top earners for England were Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jonathan Bairstow whilst South Africa’s top scorers were Hashim Amla, Kagiso Rabada and Temba Bavuma.
This brings the total to over R3 million raised for the Sunfoil Education Trust since its inception six years ago. Over the past five years, the Trust has provided full bursaries for 16 promising young township cricketers, enabling them to attend leading schools.
“We felt that to give talented township players a real chance to forge a career in the sport, intensive cricket training would need to go hand in hand with a good education, hence the formation of the Trust,” said Shoaib Moosa, Chief Commercial Officer for Willowton Group, manufacturers of Sunfoil cooking oil.
“Our long-term goal is to create cricket stars of the future, but for those who don’t make it into the top echelons of the sport, the bursaries equip them to go on to forge successful careers in other fields, whilst making cricket an important part of their lives. Either way, the Sunfoil Education Trust bursary programme empowers deserving youngsters to change their lives for the better.”
The bursaries cover school fees, uniforms and hostel costs. There are currently 16 Sunfoil bursary recipients at schools throughout South Africa, from Glenwood High School in Durban, Somerset College in Cape Town and Hudson Park High in East London to Cornwall Hill College in Gauteng, Louis Botha Technical High School in Bloemfontein, Upington High and Kimberley Boys High.
The bursary recipients are identified through the Sunfoil Township Cricket development programme, a year-round coaching scheme for disadvantaged youngsters which includes national tournaments. Those who show the most potential are selected for the Sunfoil development squads, allowing them to compete against some of the best cricketing schools in their province. The outstanding players become eligible for the Sunfoil Education Trust bursaries, making it possible for them to attend respected schools, where continuous cricket coaching is combined with their academic studies.
“This provides a structured environment for them to develop their sporting talent whilst gaining a solid academic education,” said Moosa.
Fifteen year old Tshiamo Lebeloane is one of the current Sunfoil bursary holders who attends Cornwall Hill School in Irene, Gauteng. He is an accomplished cricketer who has been selected for the Northerns team since he was U12 and is one of the youngest members of Cornwall’s first cricket team. After initially battling academically, he was enrolled on the school’s learning support programme and given extra tutoring and is now coping well with his studies. He is most grateful to Sunfoil for giving him this chance to change his life for the better.
Tshiamo Lebeloane said that he loves playing cricket and the life at Cornwall Hill School where he has joined his older brother. He hopes to improve his cricket so that when he is finished school he can one day play for South Africa.
“Cricket is fortunate to have superb sponsors like Sunfoil who have shown their desire to be involved in our broader society and not just cricket. Their willingness to invest in the future of our talented young children is beyond measure and has to be applauded,” commented CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat.
“As a sports administrator there are times when you know an initiative is simply extraordinary and this is one such initiative. It is really heart-warming to see such a large amount of money being raised for such a worthy cause.”
“Willowton Group’s support of cricket starts at grassroots level, identifying promising children who have had few advantages and giving them the chance of a better life,” Moosa said. “We believe that empowering children though sport uplifts individuals and communities and is a powerful nation-building tool.”
Since the initial Sunfoil cricket development sponsorship in 2007, the brands sponsorship of the game in South Africa is now active at all levels of the sport, from the growing township programmes, through the provincial tier with the Sunfoil Dolphins, to the highest echelons of South African Test Cricket.
Image: Fifteen year old Tshiamo Lebeloane is one of the current Sunfoil Education Trust bursary holders. He attends Cornwall Hill School in Irene, Gauteng and is most grateful to Willowton Group for the life changing opportunity.