Kal­lis part­ners with com­pany to help SA kids

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - SPORT - @KenBor­land

Jacques Kal­lis has con­tro­ver­sial views on trans­for­ma­tion in cricket that have gar­nered him neg­a­tive press in re­cent times, but what is sel­dom re­ported on is how his foun­da­tion every year pays for 10 pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren to at­tend top schools and thus en­sure their lives are prop­erly trans­formed.

Much of what is said and done in the name of trans­for­ma­tion is mere self-serv­ing po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency or empty talk, so Kal­lis de­serves credit for ac­tu­ally mak­ing a dif­fer­ence – the Jacques Kal­lis Foun­da­tion gives a full bur­sary to chil­dren who show crick­et­ing tal­ent, as well as aca­demic merit and have fi­nan­cial needs, to at­tend one of four pres­ti­gious schools – Wyn­berg Boys High, Mar­itzburg Col­lege, Sel­borne or Pre­to­ria Boys High.

Kal­lis him­self ad­mits he would never have be­come the global cricket icon he is were it not for the bur­sary that paid for him to at­tend Wyn­berg, where his in­cred­i­ble tal­ent flour­ished.

The prof­itabil­ity of these ef­forts, which have been in place since 2004 when Kal­lis started the foun­da­tion with the R550 000 he re­ceived from his Western Prov­ince ben­e­fit year, is best mea­sured not by the crick­eters it pro­duces but by the lives it changes. An ex­am­ple of this is the young man who was given a bur­sary to Pre­to­ria Boys High af­ter be­ing spot­ted at the na­tional Un­der-13 week; al­though the cricket did

Ken Bor­land

not work out as hoped, he is now study­ing for an hon­ours de­gree in ac­tu­ar­ial science.

The Jacques Kal­lis Foun­da­tion is now be­ing amalgamated with the Mo­men­tum 2 Ex­cel­lence Bur­sary Pro­gramme, mean­ing 26 pupils will now have their school fees paid for, se­cur­ing qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and a bright fu­ture for even more de­serv­ing young­sters.

The an­nounce­ment of the merger was made at the an­nounce­ment of some­thing that is the best news for South African cricket in a long time: that Mo­men­tum have ex­tended their spon­sor­ship deal with Cricket South Africa for another five years.

The won­der­ful thing about Mo­men­tum’s in­volve­ment in cricket is not just what thor­oughly de­cent peo­ple they are or what won­der­ful func­tions they host, it is that they have in­vested as much in the grass­roots of cricket as in their high-pro­file ti­tle spon­sor­ship of all one-day cricket in South Africa and their ground­break­ing sup­port of the rapidly ris­ing na­tional women’s team that re­cently did so well in the World Cup in Eng­land.

The com­pany also spon­sor the Friend­ship Games in which top schools play, home and away, against a com­bined team of un­der­priv­i­leged schools in their area; all CSA’s ju­nior weeks and de­vel­op­ment projects fo­cused around the eKasi Chal­lenge.

While some lo­cal stake­hold­ers are warn­ing that the mas­sive in­vest­ment in South African cricket that will come from the T20 Global League might not have an en­tirely pos­i­tive ef­fect, no­body will quib­ble that Mo­men­tum’s con­tin­ued in­volve­ment is a tremen­dous coup and a feather in CSA’s cap.

As CSA chief ex­ec­u­tive Ha­roon Lor­gat said: “We know what Mo­men­tum have done through the years with their huge com­mit­ment, from the ju­nior ranks right through to in­ter­na­tional level. They have been fab­u­lous spon­sors.”

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