Thabile Gquira, a Grade 8 learner at Qhayiya Secondary School in Hermanus did the Overstrand proud when he recently took gold in the code of Iintonga at the 10th Annual Indigenous Games which was held in the city of Polokwane from 20 – 24 September this year.
Thabile originally hails from a small rural village in KwaZulu Natal but on hearing that his schooling was being neglected was brought to reside in Hermanus by his sister, Ncediswa Gqira who has since taken on the role of his guardian.
The Indigenous Games offers 9 codes of competition. These are Drie Stokkies, Iintonga, Kgati, Kho – Kho (females), Kho – Kho (males), Jukskei (Development), Jukskei (Elite), Dibeke, Diketo, Ncuva and Morabaraba. Iintonga, the code that Thabile competed in, is a stick fighting game where two sticks are used - a longer stick for attacking and a shorter stick for defending. The final Iintonta match at the Games took place between Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal, which the Western Cape Won.
The results at the end of the competition saw KwaZulu Natal taking the top spot on the podium, followed by Western Cape in second and Limpopo in third place respectively.
The overall medal count for Team Western Cape was:
Gold – Iintonga
Gold – Drie Stokkies
Silver – Kgati
Silver – Kho – Kho (females)
Bronze – Jukskei (development)
The Indigenous Games is part of the Sport and Recreation South Africa Mass Participation Programme. Together with provincial departments responsible for sport and recreation in all provinces in South Africa, the National Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) host Indigenous Games Festivals during Heritage Month (September) each year in celebration of African culture and diversity.
Every four years South Africa participates in the International Indigenous Games competition. At the National festival this year, it was announced that winning teams will represent South Africa at the International Indigenous Games that will be held in Indonesia in October 2016.
Executive Mayor, Nicolette Botha-Guthrie met with Thabile, his guardian, and officials of the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport soon after his win and said, “We are so proud of you and will do all that we can to assist you in obtaining your identity document and passport to ensure you are able to participate in the International Indigenous Games next year. This is a huge achievement and you have the support of everyone in the Overstrand to not only fly the Overstrand flag high, but that of your country.”
The Mayor further urged him to be a good ambassador of the country and to remember to always compete in the spirit of sportsmanship, whilst giving of his very best. To this she quipped, “With the focus and energy you displayed at the national level, I have no doubt that we will see you coming back from Indonesia with a shiny trophy to add to the mantel.”