Legacies and cultures honoured

2019-08-27 06:00
Daniel Neuberger of Herzlia High (left) scores against Islamia College’s goalkeeper Laa-iq Laatoe, during the interfaith sports day on Sunday 25 August. The day also comprised of netball, chess and debating held at the premises of Herzlia in Vredehoek. Herzlia won the u.19 soccer game 2-0.PHOTO: Rashied Isaacs

Daniel Neuberger of Herzlia High (left) scores against Islamia College’s goalkeeper Laa-iq Laatoe, during the interfaith sports day on Sunday 25 August. The day also comprised of netball, chess and debating held at the premises of Herzlia in Vredehoek. Herzlia won the u.19 soccer game 2-0.PHOTO: Rashied Isaacs

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The eighth annual interfaith sport day between Bishops, Herzlia High School, Islamia College and Springfield Convent took place at the Van Riebeeck sport fields in Vredehoek on Sunday 25 August.

“It originated in 2012, where our sports outsource, our soccer coach thought it was a good idea for this little town in Cape Town to showcase to the world that the Christians, Jews and Muslims can come together in harmony,” says systemic head of sport at United Herzlia schools, Tina Brenzel.

Initiated as an annual soccer match by Liam Shirley, who coached at both Herzlia and Islamia, the day expanded to include more schools and more codes, which include netball, chess and debating.

“Despite what I have heard and read in the papers about the differences between the two faiths, what surprised me the most was how similar the two sets of boys I was coaching were. What I decided to do was to try and show the children and parents how an outsider might see the two sets of children, despite the fact that they looked a little bit different and spoke a little bit differently, they were all football-mad,” says Shirley.

Ebrahim Moerat, sport director at Islamia College says the interfaith tournament spoke to their strategies, especially its expansion to include other codes, and incorporating girls.

“We’ve shown this year that there is a lot of potential in the tournament. It is played in a friendly spirit in honour of a learner who has passed on who represented two of the schools,” says Moerat.

The teams played each other in a soccer match every year until the passing of Rohan Bloom. He had been a learner at both Herzlia and then Bishops before he sadly succumbed to a Ewing sarcoma, a type of tumor that forms in bone or soft tissue, in 2016.

“Following his passing, I spoke to his father and that’s when we decided to ask Bishops to join it,” adds Shirley.

Rod Bloom established the Rohan Bloom Foundation after his son’s passing, explaining that he never wanted his son to become a cancer statistic and looked for a way to honour his legacy.

“What I experienced when he was ill, was that there wasn’t a specialised children’s hospice in Cape Town. There was not a place for children who are terminally ill to pass with dignity, which went for the families as well,” says Bloom.

He then approached Paedspal, who is a public-private partnership programme who provide paediatric palliative care to children in the Western Cape. Bloom says that while Paedspal currently offers an outpatient facility where they look after children with chronic illnesses and terminal children, there is no inpatient facility. He hopes that funds will be raised in creating an inpatient facility of this nature, which will then be called Rohan House. Bloom is overwhelmed by the response of the schools in the growth of the interfaith tournament.

“It is unbelievable. I remember when you were younger you looked forward to your birthday and you had that day, remember how you felt. It is a special day, which is how I feel, it’s (like) my birthday. It just means so much to me, I feel Rohan’s presence here,” he says.

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