Over 500 children, between the ages of 8 and 13, from communities throughout the Western Cape including Langa, Khayelitsha, Manenberg, Ocean View and Masiphumelele, will descend upon Sunrise Beach – the home of Calypso Cricket – for 30th annual Sporting Chance Calypso Cricket Festival on Thursday 9 December 2021.
A unique and fun adaptation of the conventional game originating from the West Indies, Calypso Cricket adheres to most of the rules of cricket, however, it is played on the beach between two teams of ten players each, involving both boys and girls.
With the emphasis on mass participation and talent identification, a key aspect of the popular Calypso programme is to introduce the game of cricket to children with little or no access to the game, whilst bringing different cultures and communities together. According to Brad Bing of Sporting Chance, who founded the programme in 1991, this year’s programme will roll out over two phases. Phase 1 from Monday 6 – Wednesday 8 December with an Environmental Education road show in association with the City of Cape Town. Phase 2 culminating with the Calypso Beach Cricket festival and a beach clean up on Thursday 9 December, when kilometres of the Cape’s finest beaches will supply the pitch for exhilarating, action packed cricket.
The festival, presented by the Flash Group, supported by Cricket South Africa, in association with the Maurits Van Nierop Foundation, the Rotary Club of Signal Hill, the HCI Foundation with product support from Coca Cola Peninsula Beverages, Food Lovers Market and Boldgear, is an annual highlight for thousands of children who travel to the beach, from various communities, to pit their cricketing skills against one another. It is also the culmination of Sporting Chance’s yearlong Physical Education and Health programmes, which take place in the participating communities and highlights Sporting Chance’s ongoing objective to encourage sport and physical activity as a fixture in all children’s lives, irrespective of gender or socio-economic circumstances and to create an uplifting environment for all involved.
Keeping the ball bowling for 30 Years
“Many young and talented cricketers have participated in the programme over the years with some going on to represent their province and even their country”, says Bing. South Africa’s T20 and ODI captain, Temba Bavuma was one of those youngsters. Talent identification is on the forefront of the Calypso agenda, with the Sporting Chance Talent ID bursary and mentorship programme, providing potential opportunities for those identified on the beach. Calypso Cricket will also work closely with Cricket South Africa to promote and market cricket to the children within their communities.”
Sporting Chance prides itself on sport development and Bing re-emphasises the importance of nurturing the talent that is identified throughout the years, “The aim is to facilitate the opportunity for many young children to be exposed to a sport that they see on television and yet don’t have access to. We ensure that we make a difference in the participants’ lives and we know our job is done when we have equipped them with skills that will assist them in being the best versions of themselves.”
“Calypso Cricket has over the past 30 years, offered a gateway for young budding cricketers to access this beautiful game. Cricket South Africa is appreciative of all initiatives that bring people closer to the game. We would like to acknowledge Calypso Cricket for the many years devoted to this programme, which has unearthed much exciting cricket talent,” says Graeme Smith, CSA Director of Cricket.
Rens Rezelman, GM of Flash General Trader, concurs, “Organisations like Sporting Chance are essential partners in addressing the challenges that beset our communities, giving children hope for the future. This year’s Calypso Cricket programme and the accompanying environmental awareness campaign, will have a positive impact on the communities and we are proud to support Sporting Chance’s endeavours to make communities a safer and better place to live.”
The Maurits van Nierop Foundation has been a supporter of Calypso Cricket for a number of years and continues to re-iterate the positive impact it has. “The fact that Maurits himself was one of the coaches of Calypso Cricket when he first visited Cape Town as a young aspiring cricketer, makes our involvement even more meaningful,” Albert van Nierop, Founder of MVNF concluded.