The Siyaphambili story

The Siyaphambili surfski team was formed in 2018 as a pilot project with the view of starting a surfski development program.
Siyaphambili means: We move forward

The project started off as a collaboration between Bay Union (Pty) Ltd, Durban Undersea Club and the Paddling Academy under the guidance of Jacqui Boyd.

A group of 10 boys from Umgababa ranging from 13 to 26 were invited to take part in surfski lessons for 6 months as a trial project for the program. The group attend training weekly and have become a permanent fixture at Vetchies Beach on Saturday mornings. Not only has this resulted in strong bonds being formed between the boys, but they now have a more structured approach whereby they meet daily to train together as well as complete their schoolwork. An informal relationship has developed between the boys and members of the DUC paddling community where once a month experienced paddlers team up with the youngsters to help further their development. This has instilled a sense of purpose and pride amongst the boys, driving fierce competition as they try to outdo one another.

Satisfied that the project was a success and that there is great opportunity for scale, a more formalised approach has been taken, as a result the Siyaphambili Surfski club has now been formed and registered with KZN canoeing Union.
To build momentum, prominent members of the paddling community have added their support resulting in the set-up of the Siyaphambili Surfski Academy Trust whereby Bruce Robertson, Hayley Nixon, Grant Smith, Swehlihle Ndlovu and Jacqui Boyd have been appointed as trustees. Not only will this help foster new ideas/initiatives to help grow the development of the club but will bring good oversight and governance.

These young paddlers are also training during the week at Amanzimtoti Canoe Club under the coaching guidance of Dean Chiazarri as well as their Siyaphmabili coach Mhlengi Mngadi which is further adding to their training, experience and guidance. We are proud to support a team approach to nurturing these paddlers.
The mission statement of the trust is:

To provide opportunities for men and women from previously disadvantaged communities (including people with disabilities) to participate and compete in surfski paddling and in the process empowering participants with life-skills.
We recently compiled a bio of each member and asked them what the program has meant to them, 13-year-old Lwandile Gasa said:

“My favorite sport is canoeing and surfski. What I love about it is that you don’t stay at home and end up taking drugs. Canoeing and surfski has changed my life. We gym every day and we learn a lot from our coach.”
Each member of the team spoke about the positive impact the program has had on their lives and many of them made reference to how many of their friends are on drugs and that paddling and training is keeping them away from resorting to drugs.

The trustees are in the process of fleshing out a mentorship program where the Durban surfski community will be given an opportunity to personally get involved and take on the role as a mentor for individuals within the club. In addition, we plan to introduce regular (at least monthly) life-skills sessions through which the group can further their own development outside of just paddling.

These paddlers are not just paddling socially or only training, they thrive on racing and have taken part in surfski, sprint and marathon racing both provincially and nationally. Below is a list of some of the 2021 results to date:

South African Surf Ski Champs:

Five of the club members qualified to take part in the SA National Sprint champs and the South African national single and doubles Surf ski champs held in Cape Town in April.

We decided to take the opportunity to incorporate our life-skills program into the trip by planning a very busy site-seeing program.

It was the first time 3 of the team had ever been on an airplane.

The club members have also participated in the South African inter-schools championships, the KZN Marathon Champs, the Marine summer surf-ski series, and currently the KZN winter Surfski series where they are achieving podium positions racing against the best in South Africa.

KZN K1 Marathon champs –
U 14 – Avel Mzobi 12th
U 16 K1 – Senzo Ngcobo Gold, Wandile Dube Silver, Nkululeko Mzobi Bronze
U 18 – Lungelo Gumede 5th

KZN K2 Marathon champs –
U 16 – Wandile Dube & Senzo Ngcobo Gold
Keelyn Tucker & Nkululeko Mzobi 4th
Seniors – Kwanele Banda & Menzi Mthembu 6th

The above results speak for themselves: these youngsters are hardworking and talented and because of their personal drive as well as the opportunity to be coached and nurtured, they are standing on podiums! We need to support them in every way possible to train and perform at their bes

The above results speak for themselves: these youngsters are hardworking and talented and because of their personal drive as well as the opportunity to be coached and nurtured, they are standing on podiums! We need to support them in every way possible to train and perform at their best!

Our goal for 2022 is to add an additional 20 members (boys and girls) to the group. Our initial recruitment focus was to target boys and girls within the greater Durban precinct, unfortunately this has not yielded positive results and we will therefore continue to focus our attention on the youth at Umgababa.

We have registered a trust and PBO which means we are now in a position to provide donors and sponsors with a donation letter from the trust.

SIYAPHAMBILI – WE MOVE FORWARD

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