Equality

Equality

Equality

RCYC ACADEMY REPORT – by Lindani Mchunu

On the 25th of June 2019 I attended a conference hosted by the Department of Transport and SAMSA in Cape Town. The event was one of three, held annually, in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. This year’s theme was ‘gender equality’ in Maritime. South Africa is one of many nations that are signatories of the IMO’s (International Maritime Organisation) maritime policies. The organisation sets the standard in maritime policy and regulations across the globe to ensure there is a global maritime standard and practise. The theme in 2019 for all countries was “gender equality”.

From the onset when the MC welcomed everyone it was clear this was not going to be a simple topic. The panel of speakers were all female with the exception of Mr Dumisani Ntuli the Deputy Director General of maritime transport, who was the facilitator for the day. The RCYC Academy was invited to the event as a grassroots development programme, which has become the corner stone of maritime training and awareness. I am pleased to inform you all, that our Club and Academy has made a name for itself in the highest echelons of the maritime industry. With high dropout rates in the cadet training programme and lack of mentorship and support, we have found ourselves playing a critical role, in introducing cadets to the ocean, through sailing and preparing them for a life at sea on a vessel. Most of the panellists including the facilitator, emphasised the need for a programme like ours and the important role all yacht clubs have to play nationally in dealing with the crisis of cadet training. It would seem that if South Africa is serious about becoming a seafaring nation, yacht clubs have a critical role to play in that framework.

This topic of ‘gender equality’ made me reflect on our own Club and Academy, our sport and livelihood. How are we doing in terms of empowering women? The academy has quite a few young ladies sailing with us. Because we seek to empower them without the usual male condescension, we decided to create a ladies team that will compete on an equal footing with the boys. The one message that rang true quite a few times at the conference was, women do not need favours or special treatment. They just seek equal opportunity and equal recognition. Most of the panellists stressed the point that this should not be a discussion for women only, men are an integral part of the dialogue and if any meaningful change will take place, they must be part of the process. I couldn’t help but think how true this statement is, even when applied to race relations. In all wars that have been fought in history, the victor always understands that to establish long term peace, you must work with the enemy. Men and women are not enemies, at least I hope not. Men and women are counterparts. We need each other. Nature is filled with duality, which is not a coincidence. Two hands, two eyes, two ears, on and on it goes.

We are not meant to compete, we are m eant to supplement and complement one another. We all know when to use our left hand and when to use our right, we know when to use our left foot or our right one. This notion of one is better than the other is false we are equal parts of the same whole. If you can do it as a man you can bet your bottom dollar a woman can do it too, she might do it differently than you, but she will do it. We spend most of our time in the ocean. The ocean for me has always been the great equaliser, giving the same conditions to all who traverse it without fear or favour. The wind cares not whether the bow man is male or female, it will blow from the same direction with the same intensity for all of us.

One of the not so pleasant topics, that came up in the conference was the fact that females are sexualised onboard vessels. Some are raped and continually experience sexual harassment. Some shipping companies refuse to take women on-board, in fear that they will get pregnant and have to leave, or experience sexual harassment or worse, rape. Which could make them liable. What is disappointing is the fact that everyone one is not worried about the females experience on-board a vessel but rather how it will affect the operations negatively. When did we become a species that hates the very people that bring life into this world, when did we become a species that hates the very process that a women must go through to bring life into this world?

It would seem to me human beings hate themselves, we are pushing full steam ahead in the technology of robotics and Artificial Intelligence. The main reason behind it all is because companies want labour that does not have to take maternity leave, or have mental break-downs and burnout. Labour that does not protest exploitation and unfair working conditions. Industry is hungry for labour that does not feel, debate, think, and protest. Industry wants the labour that least resembles a human being. To me that is a form of self-hate. How can society at large hate the very things that make us human?

In a world where sanity prevails, gender equality, should not even be a topic. But we are an evolving species, our future should always be better than our past, we should always review our morals and practices with each generation. If we do not do that than we are slowly heading for extinction. It is not the strongest, the smartest nor the wealthiest that will survive this life thing. It is the most adaptable. If anyone amongst us cries fowl, we should all turn and listen, for it means a new dawn is soon approaching and it is time for us to review the way we do things. Imagine if an Alien Race attacked us, all the injustices we put each other through will mean absolutely nothing. All the differences we share will mean absolutely nothing, our convictions, morals, religions and gender will mean absolutely nothing to that Alien race, if all they want is to annihilate the human race. When that happens, we will find that a woman is just as useful as a man.

Come on let’s get our act together before we are forced to. We all know how this works, nature, life, gives you multiple chances to get with the program and if you don’t, it doles out the consequences and most often than not they are quite severe and they affect everyone, not just the culprits.

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My Passion

My Passion

My Passion

RCYC ACADEMY REPORT – by Lindani Mchunu

In a country like ours where race is as palpable as the South Easter, I would be remiss to not use the opportunity that is in front of me, you may ask what opportunity that may be? It is the ability to communicate through this here medium called a newsletter with a white community, a community that I would under normal circumstances not be able to communicate with. I even hear that there are people in Europe who read this newsletter.

There is no hidden agenda, there is no ulterior motive, underhandedness. I am going to tell you why I am the way I am, why I am so passionate about helping young black kids from townships. I think to do that I will have to tell you about myself. My parents had me quite young, my mom was 18 to be exact my father was 23 he had just completed his first degree at the university of Zulu Land and was transferring to the University of Natal. When my paternal grandfather found out that his only son who seemed to be doing well at school and was on his way to become something out of 12 kids, he was not pleased that he had impregnated a young township girl. In those days if a boy had impregnated a young girl he was expected to go and work immediately to take care of the child, so more often than not, young men were made to leave school and go and find menial labour. To my grandfather’s surprise my maternal grandmother protected my father when it came time for the family to decide on my father’s fate. My father was happy about this outcome and promised my grandmother that if she can look after me and wait for him to finish his studies he would make good and look after his son and the mother of his child. This is how I came to be named Lindani which in Zulu directly translates ‘wait’ so I was named Lindani until the father finishes his studies. My paternal grandmother took me from my mother and raised me, while my mother was instructed to finish her studies.

My grandmother was and still remains a very interesting woman something of an enigma really. I cannot explain to you in words who and what she is. She was a healing woman who prayed for the sickly and made home remedies, which she would say were dictated to her by a spirit that she would connect with. So there I was being raised by this mesmerising woman, who claimed to be able tocommunicate with spirits and used prayer as a healing power for people’s ailments. Making all sorts of concoctions to help people. Sometimes there would be 20 to 30 people waiting outside for this lady, whom everyone seemed to believe was the reason why their fortunes had changed for the better. I cannot say for sure whether my grandmother truly possessed some special powers and performed miracles as people believed, all I know is that people came coming back and attributed their success, health and all good fortune to her.

This was my first contact with a female and without a doubt it left an impression on me that women are mystical if nothing else. I then left my grandmother for a while and lived with my maternal grandfather, my maternal grandfather was a very interesting man, first of all his name is Nhlanhla Peter Mlaba, but his ID document says different it reads Zeblon Ngema. So I asked him of this strange anomaly, he said ‘’ well Lindani I grew up during raw apartheid and when we went to home affairs to get our ID’s the officer would just give us whatever name he saw fit and you couldn’t argue, he could even give you a new birthday if he saw fit’’. We laugh about it today, but it speaks to the loss of identity of a whole generation. Anyway my grandfather was a self-made man whose first job was at a government mortuary cleaning dead bodies, this is what would inspire him to get into business during those same apartheid years. He said to me ‘’working at that mortuary made me appreciate being alive and realise that no matter how bad things were for black people in South Africa at the time, I was alive!’’. So my grandfather opened the first black salon in KZN at the time and went on to open some grocery stores in the townships. He used most of his money uplifting young kids from the township, giving them work and paying for school fees. This would leave a sense of independence in my mind and a sense of, as long as I am alive all is not lost. Then I went on to spend a few months with my paternal grandfather.

My Paternal grandfather was one of the black soldiers who participated in World War I, he often said he had a chance to travel to Europe but never really spoke about his experience all I know is that it left him a very hard man. Yet it also made him one of the richest black men of his time in our country. How did this black man during the height of Apartheid manage to amass wealth? Well after returning home my grandfather started a very peculiar business. My grandfather opened a mail order business. What was the business about? Well you may or may not be aware but black people have always relied on traditional healers for all their ailments. These traditional healers have always had an acute understanding of the healing powers of plants and certain trees. So they could give their clients a varied mixture of medicinal herbs with healing properties for a particular condition.

My grandfather then decided to approach the most famous and well known healers, and proposed to them that he was going to start a mail order business whereby he was going to package all their products and mail them to customers, he would open a factory in the Township, hire some people and have vehicles that would come and pick up all the medicinal herbs, plants etc. all they had to do was label all the herbs and plants with the particular healing properties and ailments that they should be used for. He would then market the products and package them and mail them nationally. Well you know what happened? He ended up having a mail order business that was employing 200 people in the township and a printing press to boot for his marketing material. My grandfather as the stories go from my father and his siblings, had chauffeurs, domestic workers and garden staff and multiple properties in the township and would throw an annual feast for the local community where he would slaughter many cows and feed the community. At the height of his life he had 17 cars all brand new. I asked him how he was able to amass so much wealth during apartheid he said ‘’ when I had money I realised then that apartheid was not so much about race and the colour of my skin, it was about exploitation and economics, because I could bribe the most racist of government officials just to keep my operations going. I also realised that not all white man were inherently racist or were in support of Apartheid but it was hard for people to risk being ostracised from their kinship’’.” Apartheid was like being at war, you had to choose a side to survive, it was about survival and when human beings are just living to survive, morals will always take a back seat.”

My grandfather taught me that success is truly up to you, no matter the circumstances you encounter. He also taught me that one cannot succeed alone and uplifting your community was part and parcel of your success. At the tender age of 11 I would live with my parents for the very first time without our time being cut short for me to go and live with another relative.

Now was the time for me to truly get to know the people who had given birth to me. Over the years my father had indeed remained true to his word, he had gone and finished his studies in Bristol and came out with a Master’s degree in Law and came back to be a professor of Law at the University of Natal at the tender age of 26. My mother was busy with her first degree. The 80’s are blur in my mind, I remember there was political unrest, soldiers would frequent the townships quite a lot and a lot of young kids would be arrested almost every day. My father spent a lot of his time speaking with the youth and going to police stations to try and negotiate their release. He emphasised the power of education in the fight against oppression and he would always tell me, most of the injustices that are taking place against our people are a direct result of the fact that our people are largely not aware of their Human rights and cannot defend themselves. That is why no matter how much unrest is happening here in the township, I must get up every day and go to work and teach the kids at the university. I must do that to set an example to the young kids here, because the most irritating thing about racism and oppression is the fact that it becomes a preoccupation on its own and you are left not attending to the real matters of life, which is educating yourself so you may be able to live up to your full potential in the little time you have here on earth. My father would always say “nothing lasts forever, at some point apartheid will end and we will have to rebuild this country, so I am preparing myself for that time.”

I grew up in the township until the age of 11 and in that time I was surrounded by some special people indeed. I am 36 now, when I go back to the township and search for all my friends that I grew up playing with, 90% of them are dead. I grew up playing with kids that grew up to be killers, rapists, high- jackers, bank robbers and so forth. I will not spell out why my journey penned out differently I think it’s pretty obvious. I cannot begin to even count the number of people my father has up lifted over the years, from his immediate family, to friends, community, country and continent. He used to tell me every day, that we have a responsibility to help our people because if we don’t we will have no one to celebrate our successes with, instead we will be surrounded by hyenas, waiting for an opportunity to take what we have.

In essence what I am trying to say is I owe my existence to all the people I listed above, they instilled a sense of purpose in me that cannot be removed. I want to give every opportunity at my disposal to these kids in our academy because I know their story, I know their story better than they do, I know the dangers that they are not even aware of, and I know their lacks better than they do. Right now all I want to do is send them to Rio and I will need all the help I can get, because to me and you going to Rio is merely crossing the Ocean from one continent to another. To them it is a paradigm shift of immense proportions. There are probably so many stories like mine in the townships from young black boys like myself, but very few of those stories get to be told on this platform with this Audience.

I hope in some way, when I open myself up and tell my story and open my vulnerabilities, you hear mysincerity when I say, let us do all we can to change a few lives in our little space called the Royal Cape Yacht Club.

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On Paper

On Paper

On Paper

RCYC ACADEMY REPORT – by Lindani Mchunu

My father and I having a standing joke; it refers to the reason why black people are afraid of the ocean. We quippedbetween ourselves that we think the reason is because slavery and colonisation came by the way of the Sea. Big ships with white sails came from the sea and all hell broke loose. So, through cellular memory, black people are afraid of the Ocean and Boats. My father then went on to tell me that the next best thing that black people can do for themselves is to familiarise themselves with the ocean and boats, just in case history should repeat itself. At the heart of the joke is the fact that, African people were ill prepared to deal with what came from the ocean, they did not have the ability to go out to sea and meet these strange objects. It’s a joke with a bit of truth in it, I guess. With imminent climate change upon us and rising sea levels, it’s probably a good idea for black people to familiarise themselves with the ocean once more. I often wonder whether we are fooling ourselves, can we really introduce a culture of sailing and general boating to a people that have no direct link to this world in their immediate environment.

 

Prior to slavery and colonisation was the African continent a seafaring civilisation? Some history does speak of certain African nations that had seafaring capabilities, how far they ventured out and the level of skill and technology is not too clear. What is certain is that we never gained full dominion of the ocean, not that anybody ever could really, but exploration and merchant shipping was the foundation of the global proliferation of western civilisation and commerce. Whether it was through plunder or trade the European nations were able to increase their influence and territories via the sea.

On paper kids living in townships today have a very low life expectancy compared to kids living in more affluent areas. The fact that there are people who actually make it out of the township and make a success of themselves is a miracle on its own. Farmers talk about fertile soil. The environment and conditions have to be conducive in proportion to the best laid plans. It then makes it obvious that our work here at the academy operates outside the confines of logic. We have kids coming from townships, into a world bearing no resemblance to their daily lived experience and we are trying to persuade them to adopt this new world, with no re-enforcements at home. They spend one day in our world and the rest of their lives in the other world.

Recently Liverpool football club beat Barcelona foot club in a champion’s league semi-final. Going into the match they were 3-0 behind on aggregate, Barcelona just had to draw or score one goal to seal the match. By any stretch of the imagination no one gave Liverpool a chance, no one expected Liverpool to win the match by 4-0 at the end of 90min. Yet for some odd reason even though all the odds were against Liverpool they won. On paper the South African Rugby team of 1995 had no chance against New Zealand, how could a team that had not had the experience of playing on the international stage for so long come and beat a stalwart of the game? On paper South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela was supposed to tear itself apart, a civil war was imminent and certain parts of the country in the early 90’s definitely looked the part. Yet here we are 25yrs later and no civil war, although many still believe it’s coming. The question is what makes the impossible possible? The answer is the same for both scenarios. People make the possible impossible and People make the impossible possible. If people share a common vision and purpose and are motivated enough and are willing to dig deeper than what is immediately available at their disposal, miracles occur. I am currently putting all my efforts to try and secure a sponsorship for the Academy Rio campaign on Archangel. It seems like an impossible task at the moment. Yet what I am sure of is the cause is just. The kids that will get to crew on Archangel and sail across the Atlantic to Rio, will never forget the experience. I cannot think of any other mind-bending experience then for someone to be entirely removed from their accepted reality. Like going to space, you are bound to come back a changed person.

This is my wish for this crew that will go to Rio, to go across the Atlantic and with each passing day on their voyage, convention is turned into radical inspiration. All the barriers they encounter every day in the township will fall way, they will be in an environment, where for the first time, the horizon is always shifting, willing you to keep going. I have been eyeing this Race since 2017 when I arrived here. I am sending all my energy out into the Universe. The Cape2Rio Archangel campaign must no longer remain a dream but it must be a reality…

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UPDATE: Big Bottle of Wine Party Palma 2019

UPDATE: Big Bottle of Wine Party Palma 2019

 UPDATE: Big Bottle of Wine Party – Palma 2019

 

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Each year the Big Bottle of Wine Party gets better and better and this
year was no exception.

This year the party was held at the Hotel Horizonte which overlooks the
harbour and has fantastic views. Our party was held in the Panorama
Bar which is well named with glass windows right across the front and
has a 3 meter square screen on which we posted our Marine
Inspirations photos, very well received and an excellent showcase for
what we do.

We had 130 people attend the party and took in 11,400 euros, most of
which is profit as the food and wine are both sponsored so our expenses
are pretty small. At the party we announced that we have now got three
air tickets pledged to fly youngsters in for our next trip in June. The
sponsors are Master Yachts, Sturge Taylor and Astilleros Shipyard, A
very big thank you to them.

We also announced that we are going to do another 12 day trip in
October and for this we will bring two less advantaged kids from a UK
inner city charity as well as two from Sail Africa in Durban so it will be a
cultural exchange and should be very interesting. At this stage it looks
like it will be an all-girl affair. As soon as this was announced at the party
we were immediately donated the two air tickets from the UK – Thank
you Aigua Sea School and the yacht A Sulana. If anyone else would like
to sponsor and flight or even part of one, then please let us know by
sending an email to pandawade@gmail.com

A very big thank you to all of our sponsors and helpers who make this
event such a big success. In particular a huge thank you to Richard
Masters (Master Yachts supplied the food) for his moral support and
also to Carlos Feliu who every year fills up the big bottles with his superb
wine free of charge.

See you all next year??

The Marine Inspirations programme provides young people from around the world – who would otherwise not have the opportunity – with an insight into careers in the super-yachting and maritime industry, developing a range of seamanship skills and industry connections to improve their prospects.
For the past 21 years the Lawhill Maritime Centre www.lawhill.org has helped students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds embark on successful careers in the maritime industry  by providing them with an industry-focused education while still at school. Lawhill receives no state funding and is reliant on industry and individual support to fund its operations and provide student bursaries.

Marine Inspirations Impact

Marine Inspirations Impact

Marine Inspirations Impact

We love getting feedback like this about our students who have passed through the Marine Inspirations program. This is why we do what we do to inspire and empower the next generation of seafarers 

Published with permission:

 

Dear All,

Yesterday I had the occasion to be blown away and humbled by Smanga and his story well though I know it. I must thank again each and everyone of you, and where relevant the organisations that you represent for your incredible contribution to transforming this young man’s life whilst without realising it enabling Sail Africa to continue with the work we do.

I was called at very short notice to give a presentation to the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation. When Smanga first came to us 5 years ago they were our main sponsor accounting for half our annual budget. Today their funding has been cut in half and our budget has more than doubled, so they are less involved. Having said that they still fund the schools sailing program which is the springboard for every thing else we do. Smanga started in this program and has gone on to experience every thing else we offer from the Marine Inspirations program which he went on some years back thanks to Phil and Anthony’s generosity, getting a bursary thanks to Steve and Jessica’s generosity and experiencing the GBOBA program thanks to Nomkitha and Keith and others. He is, as you know, at DUT doing his maritime studies and he is also fully involved in the DUT sailing program which is now a large part of our work.

I took Smanga with me (without prepping him – there was no time) and because the situation called for it I asked him on the spur of the moment, to stand up and tell his story. He did – he spoke not only about Sail Africa but about all you folk. They then asked about his family, he told them ” We are twelve at home, we live in a four roomed township house in Kwa Mashu, only one adult works, and I never knew my father and my mother is dead”,

To see where he is today and know where he comes from is so so humbling. I needed to share with you and give credit for your part. .

They have asked him to speak to the KZN cabinet to show them the influence of sailing in changing lives and its impact on Operation Phakisa. He has to prepare a CV by next Friday and I must select two girls to accompany him. I will let you know how it goes although I am not invited! I am sure he will continue to be a credit.

Jackie

Aliy Zirkle and the great Iditarod

Aliy Zirkle and the great Iditarod

Aliy Zirkle and the great Iditarod

RCYC ACADEMY REPORT – by Lindani Mchunu

The age old question of whether one competes to win or overcome, is still very much open to interpretation. Aliy moved to Bettles, Alaska at the age of twenty and began mushing due to the remote nature of the town. She adopted six sled dogs and began learning how to race and train dogs. In the year 2000 she became the first woman to win the Yukon Quest. She has been the runner-up in the Iditarod three consecutive years, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Aliy has finished the Iditarod 14 times and the Yukon 3 times, she has completed either the Yukon Quest or the Iditarod every year since 1998. She not only competes with her dogs but also has a shelter for dogs, which need care. She has been exemplary in how she treats her race dogs and goes above and beyond to make sure they receive the utmost care and never pushes them beyond their limits. Aliy has been competing in this great Alaskan race for over 20yrs and has not won a single race, even though in one of the races she was run down several times by a deranged attacker, who was drunk and wanted to run her and her dogs into the river. Injuring and killing some of the dogs.

What drives a human being to keep coming back for more over a 20 year period? What motivates a woman in a male dominated sport to walk alone and endure the most severe elements known to man? What inspires such a pursuit? In my mind, it can only be the fact that society insists that you cannot do it. It can only be the fact that there is a systemic undertone that looms over your self-determination, a ceiling that is put over you and you are told without actually being told that you will never reach this high. The human spirit in whatever shape of form yearns to be free. It yearns to express itself and in doing so unravel all the layers of the human experience. Aliy yearns for the trail, with herself and her dogs and the path laid out in front of her. I doubt she even cares how far the finish line might be, she just yearns for the trail. The trail is where freedom lies, the trail is where challenge brings out the best in her and the trail is where she becomes one with her Dogs and the elements. I believe in her mind she understands that to finish anything is to begin another thing. I take strength and courage from such a story, 20 years and she has never won the great Iditarod race. Yet as I write these words she is probably preparing for the next race. Such a human being can never know defeat because for them, it is not about a position on a podium it is about the trail that lies ahead. Which has no finish line but an endless path of self-development.

This is what I wish and hope for in our academy. I hope our kids get inspired by the sprawling sea, which seems to go on for eternity, with no horizon, no beginning nor end. I hope they get inspired to break the ceilings imposed over their destinies by society because of the colour of their skin, their social class, where they live, what school they come from, what gender they are. I hope they come here, get on a boat, see the waters of Table Bay and say to themselves, anything is possible no matter what challenges I will encounter along the way. For this thing called life is an infinite race, passed on from one generation to the other and all I am here to do, is do my part.

I dedicate this article to all human beings in the world. Here in South Africa it is human right’s day, tomorrow on the 20th of March. In my blood runs a strong conviction of the rights of all people, maybe because I was raised by a human rights lawyer, who still to this day is a democracy consultant. It is of course a silly notion to imagine a world where all human beings are treated equal and merit is the order of the day. Yet one cannot do nothing just because the system is rigged. If you are able to but change

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