as appeared in The Mercury (Wednesday, 18 May 2016)
written by Patrick Compton
‘Transformation’ is a highly-charged word that means very different things to different people. It often gets tossed into the melting pot of political argument that makes up a large part of our sometimes toxic South African discourse.
Take this example: an exchange of e-mails between one of the most impressive people in South African cricket, Greg Hayes, and Dolphins’ cricketer Tshepang Dithole who received his first full contract as a professional cricketer last week.
Hayes really deserves a book to describe what he has done for South African cricket in the Border region over the last 25 years. His quiet, behind-the-scenes work in development would probably never have reached a wider audience if his name hadn’t been indelibly associated with that of South Africa’s most inspiring success story, Makhaya Ntini.
Hayes is currently working with former South African fast bowler Mfeneko Ngam at the cricket academy at Fort Hare university where Dithole was a student. The youngster played a number of matches for the Dolphins last season, particularly in the Momentum One-Day Cup, besides being a member of the KZN Inland team that won both CSA provincial limited-overs competitions.
With former Inland coach Grant Morgan taking over from Lance Klusener at the Dolphins, the left-hand batsman and brilliant fielder will feel right at home at the beginning of next season.
Here is an extract from a moving exchange of e-mails between Dithole and Hayes after the Dithole had received his contract. The first is from Dithole, thanking Hayes and CSA for helping him on his chosen career path:
Good afternoon Mr Hayes,
Firstly I’d like to thank you for all the efforts you have dedicated to each and every male and female taking part within this establishment, and making sure that all of that becomes a success for everyone involved.
Thank you for the times you were there for me when I clearly had my back against the wall and had nowhere to go. Occasionally I came to you and asked for your help and you always made sure everything works out not just for me but for everyone. You played a gigantic role in my success and I am extremely grateful.
To CSA, massive thanks to everyone that on a daily basis attempts to ensure hat this program remains and continues to be a success. Thank you CSA, for identifying me and the others to be part of this program and build a secure future not only for us but our families also.
I am where I am in cricket because of the CSA UFH program. All that has happened has led me to where I am now. If it wasn’t for this program, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I am now a post-graduate student, I have a degree in economics and I wouldn’t have achieved that if it wasn’t for you (CSA). All the payments made on my and everyone’s behalf, we are grateful. The scouts that were Shukri Conrad, Victor Mpitsang etc., results are showing, we appreciate their inferences. The help you provided us with through Mrs Melonie Gobel for the personal matters also played a prominent role in all of this.
Thanks to you all, Thanks for giving us Mr Greg Hayes, Nandile Tyale and coach Mfuneko Ngam as our management. CSA has changed my life, and I’m sure I’m not the only one out there. Thank you for making a difference.
Tshepang Alvin Dithole
Many thanks indeed for your email received. Thank you too for your kind words of appreciation and thanks. I will most certainly pass your thanks onto CSA and to all those who have played a significant role in your life.
We are all extremely proud of your achievements thus far, having secured a franchise contract with the Dolphins and more importantly obtaining your “degree in Economics”. So chuffed for you!! – very well done!!
Please be reminded that a degree does not necessarily guarantee a job but does qualify you to look for one.
Please continue with both your studies and cricket and know that we are all rooting for you. You are an example of what the programme is aimed at producing – a well-rounded young man!!
Please keep it up and continue to keep in touch, your family in the Eastern Cape misses you!!
Catch up soon.