UWC alumnus and South African Football Association (SAFA) President, Dr Danny Jordaan, visited his alma mater this week and was thrilled about the “tremendous” progress the University has made over the years.
“This is not the University I attended. Even in our wildest dreams we have never dreamt that this would be UWC. This is a university that can compete with any university in this country”, Jordaan commented.
“There were far more bushes than buildings during my time, but now there are more buildings than bushes. The place has changed tremendously. It is wonderful to see the transformation and the presence of every South African here. It is just what we envisaged in the 1970s when we were struggling to take the University out of its context at the time and place it in a new context to make a contribution to a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa. It’s wonderful to be back”.Dr Jordaan, who obtained his BA at UWC in the early 1970s, was accompanied by fellow SAFA senior executive member and UWC alumnus, Gerald Don, who did his BProc in the early 1980s, as well as SAFA Technical Director and former Bafana Bafana captain, Neil Tovey. The SAFA delegation had a “good engagement” with the University management led by Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, and which included Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Development Support, Prof Pamela Dube; UWC Sports Director, Mandla Gagayi; Institutional Planner, Larry Pokpas; Director: Institutional Advancement, Patricia Lawrence; Alumni Relations Manager, Samantha Castle, and Media, Communication & Marketing Manager, Luthando Tyhalibongo.
Dr Jordaan recalled that he used to live in the hostels and run across the road to play soccer in the football fields. He also played cricket for the Tygerberg club. “So it’s wonderful to be back and see these tremendous changes. I see the facilities, the gym and the modern scientific support. No wonder you have produced so many international players from this place. In the current Banyana Banyana [the senior women national team] we have three players from UWC, and out of the 19 players playing abroad four are from UWC.
After the SAFA delegation were briefed on the overview and vision of UWC sports, among other issues, they were given a short tour of the revamped Sports Stadium.
Dr Jordaan believes that there is no contradiction between success in academia and in sport. “In sport you retire at the age of 35 and then you have another 30 years between your retirement day in football and your final retirement at the age of 65. What are you gonna do? So you have to get life skills required to sustain yourself beyond the sports field. That is why we find sportspersons come from the ghettos, becoming big sports stars, and when they retire they to go back to the ghetto because there is nothing to sustain them. They must recognise that while they are on top as sports stars, they need to be on top of their academic careers as well.”
“They are playing and continuing their studies. It is a huge contribution that the University is making to sport, particularly football. Because, for a long time it appeared that sport was an alternative to academic and career training. Today we know that education is an essential part of international achievement, so it is wonderful to see that the University is recognising that education is key to performance and achievement in sport at an elite level”.
Dr Jordaan added that alumni play a big role in the University. “Development and progress is a continuous path of the past, present and the future. The alumni bring that past perspective, engaging the current realities, and together we can contribute to a future for this university”.