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Diamonds in the Rough

10 March 2014, 17:00
The small dusty desolate community of Roodepan located on the outskirts of Kimberley offers no facilities or opportunities for any of the youth there to skill themselves or hone their talents, there are not even adequate parks for them to go after school or spend time over the weekends. The multi-purpose centre that was once buzzing with activities in its early days has now been reduced to a decaying four walled white elephant. The once busy hall is quiet; the once lush green and well maintained grass is now nothing more than a dust field filled with shrubs and bushes, the building is now windowless, ceiling less and hopeless. What happened? Where did things go wrong and why? Doesn’t anybody care that their children who could have been busy doing something beneficial are now loitering about on street corners doing absolutely nothing to improve themselves or their community. With no sports or arts and culture facilities who can blame the kids, when no opportunity is given to them. But, I want to tell the story of a small group of boys who do not let their situation or environment determine their dreams. These boys have a passion for skateboarding even though there are absolutely no facilities in Roodepan to accommodate them, yet they persevere. I personally spoke to a few of them and listened in amazement at their story of how they overcome their challenges of not having a skateboard park or struggling to maintain their worn out and barely functioning skateboards. They salvage parts to fix their skateboards and use the local library as a chosen place to skate but when they are chased away from the library they use the school grounds and if all else fails then they simply just skate in streets. It’s their determination that grabbed my attention, their willpower to not just give up because no one is supporting them or that they lack the needed skating equipment. Their story is unique and today they may just seem like a bunch of boys skating at the library but with the needed support they could be the pro skaters of tomorrow. We have the Maloof Cup that is held in Kimberley every year why should these talented and eager youngsters be excluded just because they are not equipped enough? We need to motivate our youth to empower and sharpen their skills and talents because a youth that is busy with positive activities will not have time to loaf or be part of gangs and activities that break them and not make them. Roodepan may not be the darling community that it should be and is in the news most of the time for negative things but if you look close enough you will find some diamonds in the rough, all they need is some polish. I urge any good Samaritan to please feel free and assist these boys in any way possible.Eric Rinus Kok
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