CHESS KEEPS YOUTH IN KLIPTOWN STIMULATED DURING LOCKDOWN
To some, COVID-19 has been just bad news since it started but for the group of primary school youths who are members of the Khulisa Kliptown Chess Club, it is chess that has kept them motivated and optimistic. Chess coach, Linda Makhubela, stated, “During the lockdown, when I first came to check on how the children were, I found them playing outside their shacks with no masks, as with all the residents of Kliptown, who were acting like life was just normal”.
Khulisa, through the support of funding from a global donor, managed to secure funds to provide the children with masks and sanitizers, which have now become a way of life with their observing the COVID-19 protocol whenever they get together.
Some of Kliptown children with their masks and sanitizers
Before the chess lesson starts the kids sanitize their chess boards, their hands and the furniture they place the chess boards and pieces on top of. “This is very impressive”, says coach Linda, “as they have now taken the threat of the virus seriously and to play chess. There’s not only progress with their chess now but also their understanding about the virus and passing the message on to their family and friends.”
Since the commencement of the lockdown, structured chess classes have taken place, with the children attending every session and showing nothing but total commitment through their punctuality and their commitment to improve their skills.”
The aim of coach Linda is to ensure that the children qualify for the Nationals and then for our three most promising players, Nomsa, Njabulo and Fundile, to get them to the South African Junior Closed Chess Championships, where they will compete to represent South Africa in various international chess tournaments such as World Youth Chess Championships, Commonwealth Chess Championships and African Youth Chess Championships.
“If we can produce just one player that comes from Kliptown to represent South Africa in an international tournament, this will be a such a significant achievement not only for the players but for the whole of derelict Kliptown; one of South Africa’s most depraved squatter camps.
For the non-going school children having private coaching sessions with Linda, he has assisted in developing areas where they may potentially have had weaknesses. They are already starting to win local matches.
“Their improvement has been phenomenal”, says Linda “I wish we could take chess to every community around our country. The impact of this game on the functionality of our group beneficiaries speaks for itself.”
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LESLEY ANN VAN SELM | Managing Director
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