Fishing made fashionable

2019-04-30 06:01
Ivokuhle Xulu and his catch of the day.

Ivokuhle Xulu and his catch of the day.

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In a way to transfer his skills, knowledge, and ploughing back to the community, Errol Adams (59) launched Youth Finishing Academy to take Strandfontein youngsters off the streets. The academy was launched about nine years.

Adams, a fisherman with more than nine years of experience, says that he realised children did not have much interest in activities like fishing.

He realised that they are constantly in a rush. He adds if they are not on their phones, they are playing computer games. That troubled him because life is not only about technology. This motivated him to want to introduce them to the world of fishing, which he says teaches them, among other things, patience.

Youth Finishing Academy, coordinator Thandikaya Ncosani (36), does not only teach the youngsters about fishing, they also give them brief tutoring about swimming and marine-related topics.

His intention was to attract more and more children to the sport of fishing and his starting point is to make it fashionable to them. What they do is visit different schools in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha and conduct presentations for children about basic knowledge of fishing. “We teach them how to bait, how to throw and also how to read the water,” he says, adding that when they do these presentations, they usually use sports grounds.

After a week of demonstration on the fields, they take the children to the sea. He says it is sometimes a challenge to get a desired number of children because some parents are not always easily convinced to let their children go to the sea. But he says that he does not mind explaining to the parents that this is for the benefit of their children and that they make it a point that the fishing does not interfere with their school work, hence they do it after school or during the weekends.

Adams, who fished with the Western Province for more than seven years, says that lack of funds is a big issue for his academy. Otherwise, they would take children on tours to meet fishermen who made a career out of fishing. Just like he did, two years ago where he took a group of them to the South African Shark Conservancy in Hermanus where they were taught about marine life.

A highlight for Adams was when Ivokuhle Xali, one of the learners, caught a shark at the National Sea Rescue Institute at Strandfontein Pavilion and Ethan Pillay caught a Steenbras at Broken Road next to Strandfontein Pavilion.

His focus is not only on Mitchell’s Plain but on the greater Khayelitsha region hence he joined hands with Ncosani who is a resident at G Section in Khayelitsha.

Ncosani is passionate about community development with a strong focus on youth. He reveals that he met with Adams in 2017 and formally started working with him in 2018, and it was from then on that his role was created to mobilise children from Khayelitsha for this initiative. He described it as a “blessing in disguise.”

“I have always felt that the shoreline at Strandfontein beach was underused but had a potential to create employment and when I was approached by Errol I was happy,” he says.

He says it has always been his dream to involve and attract black children with the sea, to remove all the myths that black people have learned about it.He reveals that he would like to see more young people being exposed to programmes that are aligned with the sea and this, he says, is just the beginning. “The external vision is to grow the children into responsible adults,” he says.


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