Horses, Holidays & Hope

If you visit us at Shumbashaba during the July school holidays, you are likely to find over a 100 very excited kids and teenagers, brushing and feeding horses, checking out riding equipment, playing in the yard, exploring the farm, asking tons of questions and obviously learning how to ride and vault.

The skills learnt in caring for horses and managing stables management are not dissimilar to those skills needed to take care of our own practical needs

The skills learnt in caring for horses and managing stables are not dissimilar to those skills needed to take care of one’s own practical needs

School holidays are the time of the year when many children and teenagers are at home without supervision and therefore exposed to more risks, which is why we find it very important to offer them meaningful recreational activities that allow them to spend time in a safe environment, have fun and learn new things. Every year at Shumbashaba we offer an equestrian holiday program lasting 3 days, during which the farm opens its doors to the children and youth of the community of Diepsloot.

In different groups the kids and teenagers participate in Life skill games about respect, teamwork and boundaries, learn about horses and how to take care of them, play soccer and, what is most exciting, get the chance to ride and vault a horse.

Falling off a horse is part of riding - and is a bit like life as you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and climb back in the saddle

Falling off a horse is part of riding – and is a bit like life as you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and climb back in the saddle

“My horse was white and very nice.” Puseletso, 9, has come to the Holiday Program with her older sister. It is her first time at Shumbashaba and also the first time around horses. She seems a little nervous, but tells me very proudly that she was not scared of riding.

“During holidays we help with the Holiday Program at Shumbashaba. It is a great thing, but you need a lot of energy because most of the kids have never been on a horse and they get really excited”, explains Siphomandla, 16, one of the volunteers and part of Shumbashaba’s vaulting team. And his friend Justice, 16, also part of Shumbashaba’s vaulters adds “Vaulting and working with horses taught me to be responsible and respectful and to be aware of my choices and its consequences, that’s why I like coming here and helping out with Holiday Programs.”

Mounting and standing on the back of a moving horse requires tremendous courage, teaching children to manage and overcome their fears

Mounting and standing on the back of a moving horse requires tremendous courage, teaching children to manage and overcome their fears

“So how was it?” I ask one of the loudest groups of boys, when they join me after their first riding experience. “It was fresh.” “Yeah, it was smooth!” Even if I am not completely sure, what that is supposed to mean, the huge smiles on their faces leave no doubt that they had a great time. And they even have advice for me: “But you have to be calm, you know, if you are aggressive the horse won’t listen to you.”

The circle of life. Life skills underpin all we do, offering children an opportunity to build self esteem

The circle of life. Life skills underpin all we do, offering children an opportunity to grow their self esteem

By: Diana Haag – Shumbashaba Volunteer with a passion for communications, fundraising, youth development and gender issues

A “CAN DO” ATTITUDE ALWAYS WINS

The Opening Ceremony, despite the clouds, was uplifting

The Opening Ceremony, despite the clouds, was as always an uplifting and moving experience.

The Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony – lighting the torch, raising the flag and singing our national anthem.

Unbridled joy and boundless enthusiasm; that’s what I experienced at the 5th Shumbashaba & Special Olympics S.A Unified Sports Day held on Saturday the 28th November 2015. Watching 162 athletes give of their best in the four different sporting codes offered is a wonderful sight to behold. What makes it all the more remarkable is that this community event involves athletes with and without disabilities who play side by side on the field of their chosen sport.

Brother and sister make for a winning team

Brother and sister make for a winning team

Bocce, an entry level Special Olympics sport

Bocce, an entry level Special Olympics sport

On the day bocce (an entry level Special Olympics game similar to Bowls), equestrian, soccer and volleyball filled all four corners of the Shumbashaba property. The air throbbed with excitement, energy, the calls of triumph and cries of disappointment as the day wore on. In a Unified Sports event it is the power and joy of sport that takes center stage. It shifts one’s focus to what our athletes CAN DO, not what they can’t. Attention to disabilities fades away and instead, we see our athletes’ talents and abilities come to the fore. All of this was witnessed by a warm and vociferous crowd of spectators urging their team on to try harder and give of their best.

Even riding is a team sport

Even riding is a team sport

Equestrian athletes await their turn

Equestrian athletes await their turn

The day began with that wonderful opening ceremony which involves all athletes in a parade marked by people holding hands, helping each other over the uneven ground and a warm sense of camaraderie as they file into the arena. Once in, the Special Olympics flag is raised, the national anthem sung and athlete’s oath read out; “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”. No truer words could be said; after all, no one can do more than give of their best.

Yay, a girls soccer team!

Yay, a girls soccer team!

Soccer, one of our country's favourite sports

Soccer, one of our country’s favourite sports

 

At the end of the games a nutritious meal and drinks were handed out to every person present, scores were tallied and the eagerly-awaited Awards Ceremony was held. Special Olympics is an amazing organization reminding me that the true spirit of sport lies in participation. Winning is a by-product and not the sole purpose of sport. And so it is that every athlete gets to stand on the podium with a rosette in hand and medal around the neck; a highlight for the participants whose faces beam with happiness and a sense of achievement. And to add to the already high levels of excitement, Mark Fish, the former Bafana Bafana soccer player was present to hand out the soccer awards, shake hands with every player and pose for photos with each soccer team. The Closing Ceremony followed when the Special Olympics flame was doused. For me this ceremony highlights the spirit of UBUNTU – we are, because you are – which lies at the heart of all sport. The day ended with a yummy hotdog, drink and bag of goodies to take home. A good day was had by all!

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A head-butting injury acquired in a soccer match being treated.

We are all champions!

We are all champions!

Fortunately the day was overcast and not too hot, making for pleasant playing conditions. Certainly it was nothing like the week before when scorching temperatures were experienced. Looking at the splendid turnout of athletes, coaches, carers, family members, friends, supporters and volunteers, I couldn’t help but hear the words repeat themselves over and over again in my head; “never mind the weather, as long as we’re together …….”. My heart swells with pleasure – and maybe, just maybe a tear comes to my eyes – when I see the joy a day like this brings to so many people. We can create a better world when we foster the acceptance and inclusion of all people. Is this not too much to ask? And surely, with a little bit of effort this could be rolled out across all our lives? And wouldn’t the world be a better place because of it?

A nutritious lunch for our athletes

A nutritious lunch for our athletes

Mark Fish drew lots of fans

Mark Fish was a big hit.

 

 

 

Our athletes and their families remain at the center of this event, for without them there would be no Unified Sports Day. But fortunately there are many wonderful individuals and companies who help make a day like this happen. No entry fee is charged and so donations of time, skills, resources, food and drinks is essential. Thanks go to :

Our volunteers – too many caring and kind people to name

ACT Foundation for the nutritious lunch:  https://www.facebook.com/ACTFoundationSA/timeline

City of Joburg: Community Development for the water, soft drinks, hot dogs and biscuits

Take5 for the ice lollies, Sip Snack Maize drinks, suckers, wine gums, chips, peanuts and juice:  http://www.take5.co.za/

Paramedics for Hire who sent us wonderful Kyle who got stuck in and helped over and above his duties: http://www.paramedicsforhire.co.za/

SANESA for the donation of rosettes: www.sanesa.co.za

And last but not least, a big thank you to Special Olympics S.A.–Gauteng:  http://www.specialolympicssouthafrica.org/

And my fellow organisers.  You know who you are. I salute you all. Here’s to our next event in 2016.

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Ubuntu, the sign behind these two, knows no boundaries.

At the end of the day the athletes patiently wait for a well-earned hot dog, drink and sweets

At the end of the day the athletes patiently await a well-earned hot dog, drink and sweets

Photos and story by: Jacky du Plessis

Shumbashaba Vaulters End Year On A High

On Sunday 22nd November Shumbashaba’s Vaulting team won the E Grade Mixed Squad Gauteng Championships!

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Equestrian Vaulting is a small but growing, athletic discipline and is described as gymnastics on the back of an active lunged horse. The 2015 Gauteng Vaulting Championships was held this past weekend at the world-class indoor facilities, the Equidome in Beaulieu Kyalami. In a stunning team performance the Shumbashaba E Grade Vaulting team, consisting of 6 team members, grabbed the hearts of the judges and audience with their dedication and enthusiasm whilst performing freestyle acrobatic moves for a maximum of four minutes all choreographed to music. Only three athletes may be atop the horse at any one time. Their coaches include Bongani Mvumvu, Mel Harcourt-Cooke, Nicole De Villiers and Lars Hansen as well as a handful of committed volunteers who assist on alternate weekends.

What makes this achievement all the more special is that this team was formed just a couple months ago and consists of a group of dedicated Diepsloot children who participate regularly in the Shumbashaba Community Trust Vaulting Development Program which is overseen by Renae Erasmus with coaches volunteering from the International Vaulting and Lungeing Academy as well as from the Vaulting Association of South Africa.   This Program runs every Saturday, attracts as many as 50-60 formerly disadvantaged children with plans afoot to grow this to other equestrian disciplines and potentially include other avenues such as soccer, netball, arts and culture. The underlying philosophy of the Shumbashaba programs is about restoring a sense of purpose and self-worth.

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And this is more than evident in the six individuals that participated in these Vaulting Championships held at the Equidome. The team is led by 15 year old Justice Ratau, who personally achieved an individual 1st place in the C grade Junior Male Championship. The rest of the team is made up of Siphomandla Moya (also achieving a 1st place in the D grade Junior Male category), Katlego Monereng (1st place E grade Individual U11 male), Definite Masilela (2nd place Individual E U11), Dignity Masilela (3rd place Individual E U11) and Sean Malodi. Their reserve was Simpiwe Banda.

Written by Michelle Blaauw

RED IS FOR KINDNESS

 

Some of the Red Ladies in action

Some of the Red Ladies in action

 

Red is usually a colour one associates with danger and/or STOP, as in traffic lights, or maybe even the colour one’s face turns when embarrassed. But this is clearly not the case with The Red Ladies Charity Group who are all GO and no stop. Nor do they emit an ounce of anything remotely close to dangerous. In fact, quite the opposite is true with every imaginable warm and fuzzy emotion the result of having anything to do with a group of ladies who from the goodness of their hearts dish out RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS and generously give of their money, time and talents to raise funds for good causes – and fortunately for us Shumbashaba has hit the bulls-eye with them. And so red is most definitely the colour of love and caring.

Copperlake, a local micro-brewery, has served their delicious beer at both fundraising functions

Copperlake, a local micro-brewery, has served their delicious beer at both fundraising functions

Sunday’s Red Ladies Family Picnic of Copperlake Craft Beer & Gourmet Sandwiches was a winner, raising funds through the sale of tickets. To come back to the subject of red, there were quite a number of red t-shirts adorning the ladies present, as well as a few red faces caused by the high temperature of a fantastic Highveld’s summer day. The sweltering heat was the only cause for raised temperatures and a few flushed (somewhat red) faces. But I digress.

Local arts & crafts on sale

Local arts & crafts on sale

So on Sunday, 100 Red Ladies’ friends and supporters and their families pitched for a wonderful afternoon of good food, good drink – with Copperlake Craft Beer featuring prominently on the day – the oh-so-delicious and more-ish  cakes and fresh organic ingredients for the sandwiches from Fresh Earth made sure we all left with full bellies. A Rugby World Cup photo wall offered stalwart Springbok supporters (after all the Bokke did give of their best and made it to the semi-finals) and rugby fans a photo opportunity – and one’s very own print was available immediately thereafter courtesy of Canon. Whilst their parents lazed around, children were entertained by face painting, a jumping castle, pony rides, a beautiful big garden and best of all, at least for some, the swimming pool. A few budding entrepreneurs brought their wares along to tempt the picnickers hoping for some sales in the run up to Christmas.

The swimming pool was a big win with the children

The swimming pool was a big win with the children

The highlight of the afternoon, at least for those of us from Shumbashaba, was watching our vaulters from our Equestrian Development Program perform on the vaulting barrel. Their performance showcased the need for discipline, commitment and courage. What looked like amazing gymnastics on a stationary barrel is merely preparation for the show to be performed on a moving horse – and as they progress the horse moves from a walk to a canter. We are very proud of the 7 young boys who after a mere 18 months of attending vaulting classes once a week on a Saturday have made remarkable progress. And this is so for all the programs run at Shumbashaba and the participants.

Our vaulters perform their routine on the stationery barrel as a demonstration of what is done on the back of a moving horse

Our vaulters perform their routine on the stationery barrel as a demonstration of what is done on the back of a moving horse

Attempting to raise funds in times like these is difficult and anybody trying to do so has to be at least half-barmy or very brave. We believe the latter is firmly the case with The Red Ladies Charity Group who have twice taken on the challenge of raising funds for our Shumbashaba Horses Helping People programs, which are designed to bring about a positive change in the lives of orphans, vulnerable children, youth, adults and people with disabilities from disadvantaged communities.

It's no mean feat to do this on the back of a moving horse

It’s no mean feat to do this on the back of a moving horse

Thank you very much for taking us on as one of your causes. We are deeply humbled and hugely grateful. And it would be very remiss of me if we didn’t mention our hostess for the afternoon, Penny van Asche, whose beautiful home was the venue for this fundraiser.

Thank you to everybody who turned out in support of the day

Thank you to everybody who turned out in support of the day

Jacky du Plessis

29th October 2015

Let’s Put You in the Picture!

It’s difficult to get the full picture of what we do at Shumbashaba when there is so much happening so we’ve decided to tell you our story, or at least the half of it, in pictures – well, with a few words thrown in by way of explanation!

Home of the Shumbashaba horses

Home of the Shumbashaba horses

Shumbashaba has been running for close on 20 years. During this time the need to help people with disabilities and learning difficulties from formerly disadvantaged communities has resulted in the establishment of a number of outreach programs. In more recent years a ground-based experiential personal development program, where horses form part of an essential team made up of mental health professionals and equine specialists, has been introduced to effect a positive change in “youth at risk”, particularly those from the townships.

Over the years the calls for these programs have grown so much so that we have registered a trust designed to respond to this huge need and to formalise these non-paying programs. The Trust enables us to raise funds and create a sustainable basis from which to run these programs for the benefit of our target audience, most of whom come from Diepsloot, a neighbouring township of some 200,000 residents.

The underlying philosophy of our programs is about restoring a sense of purpose and self-worth. This goes for all who participate, not forgetting our remarkable horses who remain the foundation of all we do.

The main areas of equine assisted therapy covered by Shumbashaba are:

1. Therapeutic riding: these programs cater for people with disabilities, both physical and intellectual, from Bona Lesesdi Day Care Centre in Diepsloot and Cresset House. We offer hippotherapy, a “type of physiotherapy”, and go all the way through to riding recreationally and as a sport.

014As a result of the above programs we co-host two Unified Sports Days each year with Special Olympics S.A. offering 4 sporting codes – equestrian, bocce, soccer and volleyball. Themba and Maria from Bona Lesedi in Diepsloot, two of our riders who participate in these sporting days, progressed to the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Los Angeles during July/August, between them coming home with three bronze medals and three fourth places.

Maria and Themba with their Shumbashaba coach, Renae Erasmus, preparing for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, USA

Maria and Themba with their Shumbashaba coach, Renae Erasmus, preparing for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, USA

 

2. Equine Assisted psychotherapy and personal development: these programs do not teach horsemanship skills but offer a ground-based solution-oriented approach using the EAGALA (www.eagala.org) method of equine assisted psychotherapy and personal development where participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with horses. These programs offer people struggling with challenges an opportunity to find meaning in and a sense of purpose to life. To date we have worked with many existing NGO’s in and outside of Diepsloot, positively impacting on the lives of a great many children.

Shumbashaba's personal growth and development program helps build self-esteem and a sense of purpose in "At Risk" children and youth.

Shumbashaba’s personal growth and development program helps build self-esteem and a sense of purpose in “At Risk” children and youth.

3. Vaulting Development Program: children who have come through our ground-based personal development program want to ride, but as we cannot accommodate large numbers of riders (need a horse/pony for each child) we now offer vaulting lessons on a Saturday afternoon – this is a type of gymnastics on the back of a horse. At the moment between 30 – 50 children attend on a Saturday and plans are afoot to grow this program to incorporate the different equestrian and perhaps extend it to incorporate arts/cultural skills.

These vaulters after just 18 months are already competing

These vaulters after just 18 months are already competing

4. Equestrian Development Program: this program caters for youngsters who have come through our ground-based equine assisted personal development programs, have participated for at least 6 months in our Vaulting program and who desperately want to learn to ride. As a result we have a small number of riders, currently around 7, who attend riding lessons. In addition they have the option to join in on organized social outrides as well as participate in our Unified Sports Days and horse shows appropriate to their level of skills.

These boys continue to show a commitment to horses and improving their horsemanship skills

These boys continue to show a commitment to horses and improving their horsemanship skills

5. Holiday Program: in the middle of the year during the July school holidays we host a camp at Shumbashaba where children spend between 3 – 4 days learning about horses: how to care for them, the various different equestrian disciplines and those very important life skills that arise out of interacting with and being around horses.

"Edutainment" forms the basis of the Holiday program

“Edutainment” forms the basis of the Holiday program

6. Horse Interaction: annually we host events for children and youth, typically orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), who are invited to Shumbashaba for a half-day session of “edutainment” ” i.e. interacting with horses in a number of different and fun ways that assist in the process of learning about oneself and others. Each year Busi’s Orphans, some 35 – 40 OVCs from Soweto, are one of the groups that come to enjoy a “Pixies, Pirates & Ponies” afternoon with the Shumbashaba horses.

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This is by no means all we do, but it gives an idea of the scope of work offered by the Trust, remembering that the Shumbashaba Horses Helping People programs are all about effecting positive change in the lives of people.

Should you be interested to learn more about the Trust and wish to support the work we do kindly contact us at horses@Shumbashaba.co.za

Words and photos by Jacky du Plessis

15 October 2015

Turnaround Tumi

Tumi's "graduation" from our Growing Great Girls progam has empowered Tumi to believe in herself and her potential to make a positive difference in her own and other people's lives.

Tumi is a “graduate” of our Growing Great Girls program. The change in her is remarkable. She now believes in herself and her potential to make a positive difference in her own and other people’s lives.

What makes Tumi stand out?  Her confidence, self-esteem and drive to make a difference in the lives of her fellow township youth, that’s what!

At 22 Itumeleng Hlongwane, or Tumi as she is affectionately called by family and friends, is passionate and driven and has a wise head on her shoulders for one so young. Her background is no different from many youth in our townships – raised singlehandedly by her mother, struggling to feed and meet the needs of her and her siblings – yet she has risen above many of the challenges facing her to become a champion of the children and youth of the Diepsloot Community. Knowing firsthand the challenges they face, she has a dream to help these children do something constructive with and find meaning in their lives.

Shumbashaba does not offer your usual horse programs. It offers extraordinary horse programs, where horses are used to positively impact people’s lives through therapeutic riding for people with disabilities as well as ground-based equine assisted personal development programs. The latter is a short term experiential approach that affects real and lasting change allowing participants to experience the reality of making choices and projecting attitudes – horses show us a different way of relating with others, our environment and ourselves, teaching us awareness, integrity, respect and trust.

This passion for the youth came about when Tumi “graduated” from the Growing Great Girls Mentorship Program, one of the personal development programs run by the Trust. Now, in between her tourism studies, she commits and volunteers up to 3 days a week of her time, talents and skills to help run the Shumbashaba Horses Helping People Programs. In her own words, “the Growing Great Girls program was key to unlocking an awareness about myself, helping me to recognise my skills and talents, and realise I have enormous potential”. This turnaround in her attitude, belief systems and self-esteem is something she believes every child should have an opportunity to experience. It is key to empowering people to follow their dreams.

Tumi fulfills many roles in the hope that she can help develop the Shumbashaba programs, in particular the Vaulting Development program, into much more. It is her dream to grow this Saturday program from an equestrian sport (type of gymnastics on the back of a moving horse) to one that encompasses and offers arts, cultural and academic activities, as well as personal drug awareness programs that keep many more children than those interested in horses off the streets of Diepsloot. She has made a positive start by bridging the gap between Shumbashaba and the participants and their families, ensuring that proper records are kept, that children are informed of activities and development opportunities. She has “enrolled” at SANCA where she has become a volunteer facilitator in the substance abuse prevention education programme, sharing knowledge with and warning the youth of the dangers of substance abuse, a program which she has brought to share with the participants at Shumbashaba.

Tumi has thrown herself at any and every opportunity that the Shumbashaba Community Trust (www.shumbashaba.co.za) has to offer, grabbing with both hands the chance to develop herself, broaden her horizons and gain meaningful experience. Tumi is indeed a force for positive change!

The origin of Shumbashaba goes back some 20 years. During this time the need to help people with disabilities, both physical and intellectual, from formerly disadvantaged communities’ and in particular Diepsloot, access and reap the benefits of therapeutic riding has resulted in the establishment of a number of community outreach programs. In more recent years the ground-based experiential personal development program, where horses form part of an essential team made up of a mental health professionals and equine specialists, has been introduced to effect change in “youth at risk”.

Whether participating in a therapy riding class or in a ground-based equine assisted personal development program, the underlying philosophy of these programs is to help people restore a sense of purpose and self-worth.

Ford Global Caring Month

Shumbashaba stable yard "Blooming lovely"

Shumbashaba stable yard “Blooming lovely”

 

 

 

 

 

Newborn, just like the fresh buds of spring blossoming all around us; that’s how we felt at the beginning of this week.

Shumbashaba became a better place on Monday, 14th September when 24 employees from Ford S.A. descended on our stable yard giving it a much-needed facelift. So what did they do?

  • the ongoing scourge of litter was addressed when a team armed with gloves,  pick-up sticks and plastic bags scoured the yard and surrounds picking up all the unsightly litter
  • another team risked dropping and smearing paint all over themselves when applying a fresh coat of white paint to walls, whilst others treated wooden walls to a coat of Waxsol, much-needed to prolong the life of our wooden stables
The happy, lively, generous team from Ford South Africa at Shumbashaba

The happy, lively, generous team from Ford South Africa at Shumbashaba

 

This contribution to the makeover of our stable yard forms part of Ford’s Global Caring Month programme and the day this team spent with us is yet more evidence (not that we need it) that the spirit of UBUNTU is alive and well in South Africa.

The Ford Motor Company Fund  supports local organisations working to educate children, feed the hungry, preserve our environment, build houses, train women (and men) with job skills, and do hundreds of other amazing things.

They make it possible for nonprofits from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (and hundreds of countries in between; luckily for us this includes S.A.) to access the tools, training and support they need to be more effective and make our world a better place.

Shumbashaba does indeed do “other amazing things” – our horses helping people programmes harness the ability of horses to bring about core changes in the lives of people. The power of horses in aiding growth, learning and healing is remarkable and to witness people who struggle with life’s challenges find meaning and a sense of purpose in life is rewarding and fulfilling for all of us.

Thank you to the employees of Ford South Africa who so willingly and cheerfully gave up their day in the office to make a large difference in our small part of the world. Your contribution enables the Shumbashaba Community Trust to continue reaching out to disadvantaged communities who cannot pay for our services and in whose lives we make a positive difference.

Yum! Ford South Africa employees shared their amazing breakfast with us.

Yum! Ford South Africa employees shared their amazing breakfast with us.

We hope each one of you had the opportunity to pause for a moment in the company of our Shumbashaba horses, and in so doing found a moment of intense peace in an otherwise hectic, demanding, frustrating, challenging and sometimes scary world.

People with and without disabilities are welcome to use the services of Shumbashaba. The income earned from private fee-paying clients is used to run programmes for formerly disadvantaged community members, mainly the residents of Diepsloot.  The remaining funds are raised through fundraising events and from private and corporate donors. For additional information please visit:

Website: www.shumbashaba.co.za

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/shumbashaba

E-mail: sharon@shumbashaba.co.za

Home of the Shumbashaba horses

Home of the Shumbashaba horses

Music In The Fields

 

DSC_4614 Outstanding performances that ranged from a potent mix of lyricism and fire to heartfelt issues and tender constructions poured across the Shumbashaba fields, occasionally interrupted by the sounds of children’s laughter, happy chatter, neighing horses, clucking chickens, the occasional dog bark and the braying of donkeys. This our second Music in the Fields fundraiser took place outdoors at Shumbashaba in the beautiful warm winter sunshine on Sunday, 2nd August 2015.

The performing artists did a superb job and generously gave of their time and talents in support of our Shumbashaba Horses Helping People programmes that bring about a positive change in the lives of people in poverty – their passionate performances were delivered with consummate ease as each poured their heart into their performance.

Steve Rusznyak

Steve Rusznyak

The afternoon started with Steve Rusznyak an accomplished singer/songwriter, with guest singer Shotgun Tori, who holds nothing back when performing, followed by popular performer Josie Field, accompanied by producer Kevin Leicher on electric guitar, who has a nine year career that has seen her produce four albums and garner six South African Music Award nominations including Best Female Artist.

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Josie Field and Kevin Leicher

 

Next up was Chris Letcher who holds a Doctorate in Music Composition from the Royal College of Music, London, and whom many will remember from his days playing with the S.A. band Urban Creep. Two of his albums have made South Africa’s Mail & Guardian 20 Best CDs of the Decade by S.A. Artists. He was accompanied by his wife Victoria Hume and Andrew Joseph.

Chris Letcher, Victoria Hume and Andrew Joseph

Chris Letcher, Victoria Hume and Andrew Joseph

Chris was followed by Jason Harman who was the 2009 co-winner of Season 5, Idols (South Africa). Jason has gone on to form a band called Men of Trees which plays music from all genres, and the band’s name is also the name of the worldwide charity which Jason supports and focuses on keeping the world a greener place. Today Jason was performing in a trio that included his dad Sam Hartman and Sez Adamson.

Jason Hartman with dad, Sam Hartman and Sez Adamson

Jason Hartman with dad, Sam Hartman and Sez Adamson

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Quietly Concerned – Kyle Meenehan

The closing performance was given by Quietly Concerned. Quietly Concerned is the persona of Kyle Meenehan who believes in questioning the status quo of the world we live in. His performance given at the end of the afternoon glowed warm, reflecting the reds and oranges of the setting sun providing a fitting end to a fine afternoon.

Yamaha F310 acoustic guitar donated by Yamaha

Yamaha F310 acoustic guitar donated by Yamaha

While the adults were treated to the sounds and lyrics of these wonderful artists, the children enjoyed pony rides, face painting, feeding carrots to the ponies and donkeys and the freedom of the wide open spaces. Mid-afternoon an auction of a Medeli A1000 keyboard kindly donated by TOMS-Rivonia and a Yamaha F310 acoustic guitar donated by Yamaha, both signed by the performing artists of the day, was held raising additional funds for us.

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Medeli A1000 keyboard donated by TOMS-Rivonia

Our second Music In The Fields fundraiser follows on from last year’s successful event and judging from today’s comments this will have to become an annual event on the Shumbashaba calendar.  The generosity of the performers, sponsors and volunteers together with the big heartedness of the audience reflects the spirit in which the Shumbashaba programmes are run – “we are because you are”, which is the essence of Ubuntu, that unique and quintessential African philosophy.

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On the left, Andy McGibbons of Andy’s Acoustic Forum, Adrian Forlee and Sharon Boyce, both of Shumbashaba

 

Thanks to everyone for coming out to share the afternoon with us, to those who bid in the auction for a keyboard and guitar, and the many people and organisations who helped and sponsored us. Our thanks go to Andy McGibbons of Andy’s Acoustic Forum for sound desk duties, Marius Marais from Yamaha for the PA system and the auctioned guitar, Sound Corporation for the microphone and stands, TOMS – Rivonia for the auctioned keyboard, Kreative Koi for design work, GRC Repro for flyers and poster printing, Fancy Flush for subsidizing the portable loos, Mark Jansen van Rensburg of Paramedics for Hire, Eyethu Events for the security and the many volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.

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Mark and Damian of Paramedics for Hire donated their services for the afternoon

ANDY’S ACOUSTIC FORUM – ajm7gtr@gmail.com

EYETHU EVENTS – www.eyethuevents.co.za

FANCY FLUSH – www.fancyflush.co.za

GRC REPRO – www.grcrepro.co.za

KREATIVE KOI – www.kreativekoi.com

PARAMEDICS FOR HIRE – mark@paramedicsforhire.co.za

SOUND CORPORATION – www.sound.co.za

TOMS – RIVONIA – santhan@toms.co.za

YAMAHA – www.yamahalive.co.za

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Photos & article by: Jacky du Plessis

 

 

 

Making Youth’s Dreams Possible

 

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Themba Sibiya and Maria Matlala, announced the two equestrian athletes to advance to the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

An opportunity to fly half way around the world and participate in an international sporting event never featured in anybody’s wildest imaginations when Maria Matlala and Themba Sibiya sat on a horse for the first time on the 29th January 2013.

Despite being born with intellectual disabilities Themba and Maria, like all young people, have a dream to achieve their potential, to be recognised, and to succeed.   They are two young people whose lives have been fired up with hope.

People with disabilities are one of the most marginalised groups in the world, and for Themba and Maria who live in Diepsloot, this is exacerbated by poverty and lack of access to therapy, sport and recreational opportunities.

The  Shumbashaba Therapeutic Riding Programme for care users from Bona Lesedi Disability Centre in Diepsloot, northern Johannesburg.

The Shumbashaba Therapeutic Riding Programme for care users from Bona Lesedi Disability Centre in Diepsloot, northern Johannesburg.

But as members of the Bona Lesedi Day Care Centre for people with disabilities, Themba and Maria’s lives took an unexpected turn when they joined the therapeutic riding programme at Shumbashaba.  They were provided with the opportunity to not only develop physical fitness, improve motor skills, heighten self-confidence and grow a more positive self-image, but also to achieve something way beyond their expectations.

Meeting and learning to ride horses has equipped these two with the necessary horsemanship skills and provided them with the opportunity to participate in sporting events co-hosted by Shumbashaba and Special Olympics S.A., two organisations that share the same belief that people with intellectual disabilities can with proper instruction and encouragement learn to enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sport.

Themba Sibiya participates in the Special Olympics  Equestrian Advancement Event held at Shumbashaba on 31st May 2014.

Themba Sibiya participates in the Special Olympics Equestrian Advancement Event held at Shumbashaba on 31st May 2014.

The opportunity to progress from riding as a therapy to riding as a sport was presented when Shumbashaba and the Gauteng Branch of Special Olympics S.A. (S.O.S.A.) co-hosted several Unified Sports Days offering four different sporting codes – equestrian, bocce, soccer and volleyball – to sportsmen and women both with and without disabilities. As a result of this, S.O.S.A. was granted a quota of two riders, one male and one female, to join the South African team participating in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

As a result of their participation in these Unified Sports Days, a Special Olympics S.A. Advancement Event was held at Shumbashaba last year, during which Themba and Maria were the athletes selected to advance to and join the team flying off to Los Angeles in the USA to participate in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, an event which draws the world’s attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities. On the 19th July they depart for America where they will join the more than 7000 Special Olympics athletes from 170 nations who will compete in 21 Olympic-type sports. We wish them and all the participating athletes everything of the very best and remind them of the athletes oath which says;

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”.

Maria Matlala participates in the Special Olympics Equestrian Advancement Event at Shumbashaba on 31st May 2014

Maria Matlala participates in the Special Olympics Equestrian Advancement Event at Shumbashaba on 31st May 2014

Shumbashaba aims to build a sense of self-worth and purpose in all people who participate in their programmes.   Their therapeutic riding and equine assisted growth and personal development programme, supporting people with disability and youth at risk from Diepsloot, has gained high acclaim over the years  winning numerous local and international awards.

Jacky du Plessis

20th March 2015

Bring on the Sun & Fun

281Bring on the sun and fun! And that is exactly what happened on Saturday 29th November 2014 when 109 athletes from Bona Lesedi, Cluny Farm, Novalis House, Diepsloot Arsenal Development Club and Shumbashaba participated in the 4th Unified Sports Day to be held at Shumbashaba.

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The four sporting codes on offer included bocce (an entry level Special Olympics sport), equestrian, soccer and volleyball all of which was played in the fine spirit of good sportsmanship with many friendships forged on and off the field.

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Special Olympics S.A. , Shumbashaba Community Trust, S.A. National Equestrian Schools Association (SANESA), Bona Lesedi and Diepsloot Arsenal Development once again joined hands, combined limited resources and called on many kind and caring volunteers and organisations to assist in putting this day together.

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People with disabilities are one of the most marginalised groups in the world. It is the belief of Special Olympics that people can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sport. This is a belief shared by Shumbashaba and all the participating organisations. Saturday’s event provided the perfect opportunity for this belief to be lived, and being a Unified Sports Day it brought people with and without disabilities together on the playing field.

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This ability to bring people with and without intellectual disabilities together dispels long-standing myths, changes negative attitudes and offers new opportunities to embrace and celebrate people with intellectual disabilities.

Paramedics for Hire have been amazing, providing their services free of charge.

Paramedics for Hire have been amazing, providing their services free of charge.

There were many examples of boundless courage and enthusiasm on display, whilst participation in the games resulted in many athletes experiencing a heightened sense of self-confidence and a more positive self-image. This was clear to see on the athletes faces whose joy on the field was matched by an improved posture that clearly said “I am good enough”.

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For all athletes, their chosen sporting codes is an opportunity to develop physical fitness, improve motor skills, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympic athletes and the community.

Article & Photos by: Jacky du Plessis