With high levels of unemployment, many South African youth battle to find jobs. The Royal Cape Yacht Club Sailing Academy was established 10 years ago with the purpose of exposing youth from marginalised communities to the sport of sailing and helping them to develop careers in the maritime industry.
The Academy has touched the lives of hundreds of young people by providing technical skills as well as developing teamwork and fair play as life skills.
“The Academy seeks to expose, upskill, empower and grow youth through sailing, and plays an important role in the transformation strategy of the Club,” said RCYC Academy spokesman Jennifer Burger.
In January, the Academy’s complete crew drawn from the Cape’s marginalised communities will attempt the iconic Cape2Rio yacht race. Their yacht, the Alexforbes ArchAngel will sail 3 300 nautical miles across the South Atlantic Ocean. The Alexforbes ArchAngel crew comprises skipper Sibusiso Sizatu (30), first mate Daniel Agulhas (29), Renaldo Tshepo Mohale (29), Thando Mntambo (23), Azile Arosi (22) and Justin Peters (21). After many years in the Academy’s sailing programme all of the crew have pursued careers in the maritime industry.
Sizatu works at full time at the Academy as a senior instructor, Arosi, who is studying entrepreneurship has recently completed a three-month learnership at the RCYC, Mntambo works in the sail making industry, while Mntambo and Mohale work weekends at the Academy doing boat maintenance and instructing. Agulhas works in the boat rigging industry, while Peters crews on a charter vessel in the V&A Waterfront.
Sizatu said going to Rio with his fellow Academy sailors was a long-held dream. “It’s an amazing feeling to know we are going to participate, thanks to sponsorship from Alexforbes. We thought it was never going to happen but our team did not give up hope. We trained, persevered and continued preparing even though our path to Rio was not clear. We are determined to try and win, or at least be on the podium.”
Commodore Neil Gregory of the RCYC says, “The grit and determination of the RCYC Sailing Academy crew combined with the confidence shown by Alexforbes as their sponsor is turning what is already one of the bucket-list ocean races into an experience that all of South Africa can connect with.”
Viresh Maharaj, Executive: Strategy and Customer Experience at Alexforbes, described the six as South African heroes in the making, defying their backgrounds to participate in the race. “Alexforbes stands for the connection between tomorrow’s reality and today’s aspirations.
The crew are all people born without privilege and who have faced hardships, but through hope and courage, they are ready to attempt what was previously impossible for them because of exclusion, not because of capability, attitude or competence. The crew of the Alexforbes ArchAngel connect us with the possibility of tomorrow despite the challenges of today, and that is why we are fully on board,” he said.
Originally Published by: Sunday World Online