Slice of life: Team work makes the dream work

For the past seven years I have played touch rugby, it was a spur of the moment decision that looked like fun and gave me something to do after school. I didn’t know the sport would lead me on a long but rewarding journey.

Three years ago, I was selected to play for the Gauteng Ladies side, an experience that has taught me more in that short space of time than my 12 years inside a classroom.

Our coach, Steven Knoesen, demands perfection in every aspect of the game, for defense to be as tough as the attack, and for us to memorise every move but to improvise when needed. The past three years under his watch have broken and subsequently moulded me as a player. Three years ago, I was an average player that sailed through most games on natural ability, a bit of pace and a lot of heart. However, when you’re coming up against the best touch rugby players in the country you’ll need a lot more than heart and pace to beat them.

Finally, after years of practice, fitness training week in and week out, running the same moves a hundred times and then a hundred more, learning from defeat and building a strong team bond; we made it to the Ladies final in March this year. Obviously, our opponents would be none other than KZN, leaving us feeling like we were thrown to the sharks. Thankfully, we succeeded! We won 4-1 and came home with our first ever gold medal.
The feeling of finally succeeding after years of tireless work is indescribable. Success is built on a foundation of hard-work, heart and the pure drive to achieve regardless of the circumstances. In anything that you attempt in life, you will always be more successful if you work hard and give it your all.

There is no ‘I’ in touch rugby. I have learned that it takes six people to score a try and it takes the same to defend against one. There are moments when individuality is important but nine times out of ten, a team will be better. You need a team, whether on a sports field or in a newsroom. A team that will go again and again until they succeed. Team work is an interesting concept in the fact that everyone must work just as hard the person next to them, you will only truly succeed if there is no weak link.

I have a Ladies team that is dynamic in ability as well as people from all walks of life that put everything aside once they step onto that field. The sense of camaraderie in sport is unrivalled, friendship is an integral part to personal growth. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is crucial, they will push you to be the best version of yourself.

My three year slog to gold was a process that taught me that in everything you attempt in life, you need to put in equal part hard work to equal part heart and it is always better with a team next to you.


Water shortage rocks South Africa

ALL DRIED OUT: The sight of dried out taps may become the norm in South Africa if water conservation is not taken seriously.

ALL DRIED OUT: The sight of dried out taps may become the norm in South Africa if action is not taken to conserve water. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Water restrictions have changed the lives of many across northern KwaZulu-Natal, but the rest of the country  is not immune to the effects of the water shortage. Climate change, leakages and illegal connections continue to weigh heavily on our dwindling water supply. 

Water shedding has been implemented in Kwa Zulu Natal since June this year. The rationing of water in the province is due to drought, non-payment of water services and continued high water usage patterns from households and businesses.

Ethekwini Municipality’s water shedding is the water equivalent of Eskom’s electricity load shedding. A certain amount of water is allocated to each household and business in the affected areas on a daily basis. Water restrictors, which restrict water flow by 30%, have been installed into taps in the eThekwini Municipality to ensure even distribution.

“When I was home during the mid-year break, we didn’t have water from 9am until 4pm on a Friday” said Riante Naidoo, a Wits journalism student and resident of Allandale, Pietermaritzburg.

Water rationing in the province has been brought on largely by the recent drought that has hit the province. Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane launched National Water Week in the drought-stricken KwaDukuza in KwaZulu-Natal on 16 March 2015 under the theme: “Water Has No Substitute”. The significantly below-average rainfall together with severe frost in the Midlands region during the past winter left many supply areas severely affected.

The water levels of the Hazelmere dam, which supplies water to thousands of people in the Northern region of KZN, declined to under 30% in July 2015. Reservoirs have been shut down in the Burbreeze, Emona, Grange, Redcliff and Waterloo areas including areas under the Ilembe District Municipality which encompasses areas like Ballito.

The eThekwini municipality also reported that water leakages, illegal water connections and vandalism account for about 237 million litres of water loss per day.  The municipality is offering residents a chance to convert to a legal connection.

Amnesty is being offered to those who declare that they have been connecting illegally to the water network but a R250 service fee is then charged for the legal connection.

WATER SCARCITY: Even Johannesburg residents have experienced water cuts.

WATER SCARCITY: Even Johannesburg residents have experienced water cuts.

According to the Global Risks Report 2015, climate change is one of the most significant long term risks to South Africa. The effects of climate change have also had enormous repercussions on the water supply in the country.

Some Johannesburg residents say that water shedding is not a new phenomenon. “Sometimes when you wake up, there is no water” said a wits student who lives in Diepkloof Soweto.

Sporadic rains have hit the coast in recent weeks but KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube says the recent rainfall may give a false impression that the drought is over.