Balgowan school gets a new basketball court

2008-08-25 00:00

A basketball/netball court has been opened at Asithuthuke Combined School, formerly known as the Michaelhouse Farm School. The school serves the village of Zenzane, which lies in a valley between Balgowan and Nottingham Road.

“Michaelhouse school originally built Zenzane as a staff village,” said David Lewis, a retired history teacher from Michaelhouse and trustee and treasurer of the Asithuthuke Trust.

The farm school, renamed Asithuthuke, Zulu for “Let us progress”, was built in the village in 1949 for Michaelhouse employees’ children, and soon those of local farmers were admitted.

In 1982, after the addition of more buildings financed by the private sector, classes were extended from standard six to matric level.

Until a few years ago, when the school was taken over by the department of Education, it was administered by Michaelhouse. Since then, Michaelhouse has maintained an interest in the school via the Michaelhouse Community Partnership Trust, which assists by funding items not catered for by the Department.

When Sandile Sibiya — who teaches art at Michaelhouse and at Asithuthuke Combined School — encountered a group of pupils interested in basketball, he formed a team, training them on the court at Michaelhouse. This was not always possible as transport was not always available. So it was decided to motivate for a basketball court at Asithuthuke.

The court was built using donations from Michaelhouse Community Partnership Trust, the Nashville Rotary Club, U.S.A., and Michaelhouse Old Boys; in particular, friends of Robin Matthews, a Michaelhouse old boy, after whom the court is named.

“The court is not just for the school,” said Sibiya, “the entire community benefits.”

There are now plans to build a court at Nottingham Road Combined School. “Then we will able to play in league with Weston Agricultural School, Treverton, Nottingham Road Combined, Asithuthuke, Injoloba School and Michaelhouse,” said Sibiya.

Lewis said that once a court has been built, basketball is a very cheap sport to play. “It’s not like cricket, for example. All you need is a ball — even a plastic one from a toy shop will do — and you can even play barefoot.”

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