Drummies show they still have it
As with most sporting codes across the globe, the drum majorette season was dealt a heavy blow by the Covid19 pandemic. But this hasn’t halted drummies from a local school to continue practising the sport they so dearly love.
The determination to remain in tiptop shape and breathtaking skills of three drum majorettes of HottentotsHolland High School led to their finishing in podium places of a nationwide online competition, despite conceding lockdown and a lack of their normal rigorous training regime had left themsomewhat rusty.
Siblings Amy and Jamy Malgas and their teammate Kéahna Jansen flew the flag for the school in the Drummie Online Lockdown Tournament, cementing their place as some of the top athletes in their craft in the country. Amy clinched top spot in the solo mace category, second place in solo flags and third in the solo baton division, while her sister Jamy won the non-prop/pom solo category. Meanwhile. Kéahna placed fourth in both the solo flags and non-prop/pom divisions, and sixth for her mace solo.
For 18-year-old Amy, who is the leader and captain of the HHH drummies team, the competition presented her with the chance to have fun and enjoy the sport she loves one last time, as this is her last year of high school. She has been an avid drum majorette for the last 12 years and was instantaneously drawn to the sport the first time she saw girls going their drills.
“Drummies taught me how to be punctual, dedicated and hard working,” she shared. “It has given me the opportunity to travel and see places I could only dream of. The sport allowed me to grow and be more confident in whatever I do, so I will forever be grateful for all that it offered me.”
Amy described her participation and eventual outcome of the tournament as a blessing and honour. “There were so many participants who took on the challenge,” she said. “Being able to represent my team and school on this platform, during this time, is a true blessing.”
Kéahna, who is a sub-leader of the HHH team, was surprised her performance had won her a place in the final round. She initially also entered the tournament for a fun and enjoyable experience. “I am very passionate about the sport, so to make it this far makes me very proud of my progress and future in the sport,” the Grade 11 learner related.
“Drummies has taught me discipline, elegance and poise, and I have learnt the importance of teamwork. I have made friends whom I can call my sisters and it also keeps you physically fit and strong.”
The 16-year-old has been plying her trade as a drummie for the past 11 years and was particularly enthralled by the challenge of testing her stamina and pushing herself to improve through her participation in the competition. “It gave me the opportunity to test my abilities and ascertain just how far I am able to push myself in my pursuit to success.”
The online competition, launched in June, came much to the relief of drummies across South Africa as a means to motivate youths to carry on their training at home amid lockdown regulations. It was launched by drum majorette enthusiasts and siblings
Lerato and Palesa Chele who, as coaches, had first-hand experience of the negative effects the lockdown had on their athletes.
“Athletes found themselves confined to their homes, without any option of participating in the competitive sphere,” Lerato related. “Their psycho-social and mental state was the core concern for the coaches involved. This is why it was important for us to push through all the challenges we faced, to ensure that the competition comes into fruition and is a success.”
She added that it was devised as a non-profit initiative to uplift drummies, keep them mentally, creatively and physically stimulated, create a learning and development opportunity, create an opportunity to develop judging and coaching, provide an opportunity for tertiary drummies to compete in this sport once more, and foster sportsmanship, support and comradery among athletes, coaches, parents and supporters.
“The timing of the tournament was also key as the athletes would’ve, under normal circumstances, been on the national competition field. The tournament gave the athletes the opportunity to virtually compete with their fellow sportswomen.”
Drummies of all ages and from eight provinces submitted a total of 453 videos of no more than 90 seconds for adjudication, with the competition divided into two heats – the semi-finals and finals. The first round was held over four consecutive Saturdays from 20 June to 11 July, followed by the final round on Saturday 25 July.
The athletes competed in three divisions – primary, high and tertiary – and in four drummie categories, namely non-prop/pom, flags, baton and mace. What’s more it aimed to be all-inclusive, so athletes not in possession of a correct prop could use a safe, similar household item to perform their mesmerising moves.
Each participant was awarded memorabilia to commemorate their resilience during this difficult time, Lerato pointed out, while all finalists were awarded certificates. Those who finished in the top three received medals, while the drummie who claimed the top podium spot in the various categories was awarded either a high flyer mace or baton sponsored by HarriLabs, Tony’s Maceland and Sonja Bezuidenhout.