RCYC ACADEMY REPORT – by Lindani Mchunu

I cannot begin to explain to you how far down the rabbit hole we have gone. Our club, our academy is being discussed in board rooms far removed from the waters of Table Bay. To be honest with you I never imagined we could go as far as we have, I never imagined that I would be on first name basis with high ranking government officials. I never thought that our little academy would become a cog in the big wheel that is maritime education and training. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you that there are people who are seeking to take our little
academy and replicate it nationwide. As I have said on numerous occasions, we are at the point of no return.

We are heading in a direction that will require us to change a lot about ourselves. I have been mandated by the club to grow our academy in ways that will benefit not only the kids that come through our doors but our club as well. As we look at our uncertain future, not knowing what will become of our club and our sport, it is incumbent upon us to do whatever we can to ensure that our actions today echo our hopes for tomorrow. I know I will not be amiss if I say all of us wish to see this club remain here for another 100 years and beyond. Yet as much as our
predecessors had to face many challenges with the ever-shifting landscape that is our society, we too face challenges of our own. We cannot change, yet remain the same. We cannot transform yet keep our old ways. Change is uncomfortable at a very personal level, for instance I know that cigarettes are bad for me and every day I smoke one, I am literally killing myself, yet the motivation and discipline to quit is an ongoing struggle. Even when death is the consequence, the will to quit and change my bad habit is an ongoing struggle. Why? I reckon it is because I am not fully conscious of what is really going on inside my body every time I smoke. I am not currently suffering the consequences of my habit. If my body could bring the consequence immediately instead of delaying it, maybe it would hit home immediately, but maybe it would also be too late.

If I don’t stop smoking, I will be the one who will bear the brunt of my bad habit. Yet if we do not change collectively many will be affected, many will lose out and the future will be a sour one indeed. There have been occasions where some of my academy kids have made me aware of experiencing raw racism at our club, I have taken it in my stride hence I have never really spoken or written about it. I do not want to be the racism police. It’s boring and tiring to say the least, racism is a ghost. Yet most of all it is painful, because I cannot change the colour of my skin and I wouldn’t, even if I had the opportunity to. The Sun has decided to imprint itself on my skin and I have no issues with that. What bothers me is when someone decides that my skin colour is a reflection of my disposition and constitution, funny thing is, because of my command of the English language and my literary inclination most of these academy kids think that I am what is called a COCONUT. Black on the outside white on the inside, human beings at their best, always wanting to label things as though once you have labelled someone, he/she will remain true the properties you have bestowed upon them. Nothing could be further from the truth, life has proven over and over again, that evil men can be good and good men can be evil. Most things if not all things are ever as simple as black and white. I cannot ask for people to change who are unwilling, all I can say is racism at its core is painful, it makes one question their very essence and kills any dreams and aspirations one might have had for themselves once someone puts you immediately in a box and refuses to meet you and recognise your individuality. Mahatma Ghandi said one should never be anti-anything, one should always strive to be pro something, my hope is that in time this academy and I, will open the eyes of those who refuse to look at us as mere people who are trying to do right by life and contribute positively to our sport and club. I will continue to encourage and promote within our academy the ethos of community and responsibility to the whole. I am pro us division has never engendered peace and harmony. Wind and water folks that all we have in the end, wind and water. Our boat our crew that is all that will see us through the storms ahead.

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