Oregan Hoskins: ‘Sport transformation is real, but slow’

2014-03-24 00:00

POOR nutrition and the collapse of community sporting structures, leaving children not playing enough sport, could be blamed for the slow transformation of sport in South Africa.

This was according to SA Rugby Union (SARU) President Oregan Hoskins, who was honoured in his hometown Pieterma­ritzburg on Saturday night for his sporting achievements.

Hoskins was one of 140 sportsmen, women and organisations — described as the unsung heroes of non-racial sport — honoured by the city’s Sports Veterans Association (SVA) at a gala event attended by close to a thousand people at the the Truro Hall in Northdale.

He bemoaned the fact that community structures built during the apartheid era, under such umbrella bodies as the non-racial SA Council for Sport, had fallen away.

“That is the tragedy of ... sport unification in our society,” he said.

Hoskins said there were no quick fixes to the problems confronting sport.

He said he had just completed an MBA at the University of Cape Town, where he looked at why there was a glass ceiling in rugby and cricket.

One of his findings was that class and privilege played a role: white children generally with the privileges of apartheid were in the best condition because they had the best nutrition, while black kids did not enjoy the same nutrition.

However, with the emergence of a strong black middle class, Hoskins believed that the situation was changing. Black children had access to better nutrition and better schools, and more were beginning to play the traditionally white sports of cricket and rugby.

“There is no magic wand and no quick fixes, but we are getting there,” said Hoskins, adding that the greatest tragedy of the new South Africa is that community sports structures had largely fallen away. They were subsumed into establishment bodies and everyone was clamouring for a place in the new structures, he said.

The SARU president let on that he was almost lost to rugby.

Hoskins said many people did not realise that he had cut his teeth as an administrator in the non-racial fold of the Pietermaritzburg and District Cricket Association. Hoskins said he had travelled the world meeting sports administrators, but the non-racial cricket association still stood in a class of its own. “This is where I learnt about administering sport with honesty, integrity and excellence,” he said.

The association had members including Rajan Moodley, Krish Reddy, Christopher Merrett and Andrew Ragavaloo.

“They took administration seriously. They were committed and dedicated. Meetings were well run and well chaired, minutes were judiciously done, finances were kept perfectly and you had confidence that your subscriptions were well managed.”

He said he might have become a cricket administrator, as Moodley had asked him to become secretary of the association, but he had been busy with his law degree at that time.

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