Taking part in a boating tradition that pre-dates the ancient Greek Olympics by about 1000 years were 32 teams of enthusiastic rowers at Saturday’s Dragon Boat Regatta hosted by the Rotary Club Cape of Good Hope.
Blessed with sunshine and a south easter that only gently whipped up the waters of Zandvlei, corporate and NGO team members and their families enjoyed braaing on the lawns of the Imperial Yacht Club in Lakeside in between their heats, while the children had fun at the ‘fishing’ pool, on the jumping castle or paddling in the shallows.
Dragon boating is an important facet of Chinese culture and is steeped in tradition and ritual. Although traditional dragon boats might be rowed by 52 to 104 people, modern dragon boats are paddled by 10 to 20 rowers rowing in time to the drummer sitting up front. At the back is the steersman controlling the boat.
The proceeds of this year’s event, the 6th Dragon Boat regatta hosted by Rotary, will be used to build two more classrooms at Green Curtains, a pre-primary school in Ocean View. Last year the funds were shared between Reach for a Dream, CHOC and the amaBele Belles, Africa’s first Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boating team who, apart from taking part in national and international Dragon Boating festivals, gives support to breast cancer sufferers. For more info about the amaBele Belles go to www.amabelebelles.co.za.
Corporate teams from the Scenic South Peninsula included the Brass Bell, Cape Medical Response and FBN (False Bay Network). Also rowing were teams from the Sinethemba Special Care Centre, Reach for a Dream, CHOC, Sisters4Sisters and the amaBele Belles whose boats were sponsored.
I had the opportunity for paddling for Great Britain. Indeed! Team GB, a group of Rotarians on holiday from the UK who were roped in to participate and who had great fun doing so, were two men down due to work commitments so Sue Swanepoel, President of Rotary Club Cape of Good Hope, and I stepped on board. What fun! Two hundred metres of hectic paddling to the beat of a drum sure gets the heart rate up, gets the tummy muscles working and is absolutely exhilarating.
Sisters4Sisters is an activity driven and spiritually based organisation for abused women which was founded by Eunice Uyige, a young woman from Kenya, who came to South Africa in 2008 to seek a better life for herself. After speaking to women in the different communities she found that those who were victims of domestic violence often lacked self-esteem, felt isolated and were very angry. She subsequently set up Sisters4Sisters in partnership with the Anglican Church, the Woodstock Police Station and local women shelters. The group now has over 60 members who enjoy the mutual support and companionship as well as the skills programmes offered, giving them the opportunity to earn an income through baking bread and doing beadwork and other crafts. They also reach out to other women living in their communities.
The Young Girlfriends programme gives support to victims of domestic crime between the ages of 8 and 15. For more see www.sisters4sisters.org.za. Tel 078 585 1701 or email email@example.com. Locally there is a group meeting in Westlake.
CHOC is a nationwide support group for parents of children suffering from all cancers or life-threatening blood disorders . The goal of the organisation is to improve the quality of care for the young patients as well as to give practical help to the children and their parents. Contact details for the Cape Town area: Cell 086 110 6441 email firstname.lastname@example.org website www.choc.org.za
Reach for a Dream helps children between the ages of 3 and 18 who are fighting life-threatening illnesses to fulfil their dreams – to have a magical moment to regain their childhood that is being lost to an illness. To volunteer or donate or sponsor a dream ph the Cape Town branch on 021 555 3013