‘Start with what is in your hand’: Rubik’s Cube solving not just for smart kids, says local

Donovan Pretorius (24), founder of The Cubing Hub,PHOTO: Supplied
Donovan Pretorius (24), founder of The Cubing Hub,PHOTO: Supplied

Donovan Pretorius (24) has always wanted to be part of the writing of history.

He relocated from the Northern Cape with just a dream, believing eventually things will start to come right.

Last week Grandwest hosted the Rubik’s Cube World Championship, with Pretorius’ cubing hub at the steer of things.

The 24-year-old’s love for the Rubik’s Cube started around the age of eight and nine years old when his parents would always buy them these cubes to keep them busy and entertained on long road trips.

There was always a challenge set out for them to see who has the most colours solved before the end of the trip.

“We would always get so excited, and it became a big thing. This was before technology. This was all we had to play with.”

And that’s where it all began on our long road trips and since then Julius always wanted a Rubik’s Cube.

‘That woke up something in me’

“I went in for an operation to have ganglion removed from my wrist and there on my way to the theatre the doctor who was going to do the operation saw my cube and started playing. He solved the cube three-quarters on the way to the theatre. That moment woke up something inside of me. If that guy could do it, I can do this.”

A year or two went by when Pretorius’ uncle went to do his community service year in Kimberley.

“He asked me why I did not learn to complete the Rubik’s Cube. After four weeks of doing research, I learned how to solve the Rubik’s Cube.”

Pretorius said then he just challenged himself to get faster and faster.

“Working with the World Cube Association has also been a dream come true and they made it possible for us to do this event.”

The World Cube Association is the world cube governing body so without them, Pretorius’s dream would not be able to come true.

He is grateful for them.

‘Start with what you have’

The Cubing hub started due to the failure of another business. Pretorius founded a popcorn business where they were selling about 40-60 packets per day, but it was short-lived as teachers did not like the idea of them selling popcorn or making some money on the side, Pretorius said. So they had it closed.

“It was devastating to me as we were learning entrepreneurship as a subject in school, but as soon as I acted on it, and what I learned. It got shut down.”

“It made me feel like we are taught one thing, but we cannot exercise it.”

“I went back to my mentor and asked her what business I can start.

“She told me: ‘start with what is in your hand’ it stuck with me forever.

“I went home and thought about it. I took the cube to school and solved it 1 kid saw it and wanted to do it too. I charged him an R60 to teach him and that is how the cubing started in 2014.”

Teaching one child how to solve the Rubik’s cube to doing personal development training with the Rubik’s cube. To create a cubing wing where children can compete against each other. It all started with the saying, “what do you have in your hands”.

“I realised I can do solve the Rubik’s cube, I can find a way to turn it into a business. ‘No eyes have seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined’ is the cubing hub’s motto.”

Participants came from 12 different countries

Participants of the world championship organised by the Cubing club in sponsorship with the World Cube Association came from 12 different countries from as far as Germany, New York, Kenya, and Switzerland. It goes to show there is a space for cubing to grow in South Africa.

On the international side of things; America, Australia those places cubing is already so huge.

Pretorius failed grade 7. “I was the only student to fail. It was so devastating because all my peers went to high school and I was stuck in grade 7.”

He recalls people saying, “maybe there is something wrong with Donovan, maybe he is slow in a particular area of learning.”

“I did not necessarily become smarter fixing the Rubik’s cube but it did teach me the capabilities I have within me.”

Pretorius teaches children how to solve the Rubik’s cube. You have greatness within you. If you can solve the Rubik’s cube, which seemed impossible. You can fix the impossible.

“I can inspire so much of our youth today. Breaking the idea that only smart children can solve the Rubik’s cube.”

Pretorius believe the Rubik’s cube is merely just a tool to use to unlock the greatness within them.

Builds up confidence

What the Rubik’s cube does is build up their confidence once they learned to solve it. They feel a feeling of accomplishment which impact them. It starts to change their mindset and the way they perceive things.

“They think if I can do it surely I can also start doing Maths this way or put it in science.

“They start tricking their minds into thinking nothing is impossible

“The process of solving a Rubik’s cube is like building a house. We think you must solve each colour one side at a time.”

It is like building a house, you start with your base and then you build your walls up. Once your walls are up you start with your roof and ceiling, which is the top side of the Rubik’s cube and then you finish it off with your windows.

“My times have been getting slower, it is 14 to 15 seconds that I can solve a Rubik’s cube.”

The Cubing Hub is starting to head to different schools in the Western Cape to start growth track panels, train learners on the cube and monitor how they have improved in life and schoolwork.

People can get hold of us the Cubing Hub on Facebook, or directly at donovan@cubinghub.com.

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