Chasing passion on concrete pitches

 
 
 

The West Indies used to be the strongest cricket team in the world. When they demolished South Africa in the 1996 One Day International, they left most of our country devastated. But not Cavaan Moyakamela, a high-school boy from Limpopo. Brian Lara’s batting skills for the Caribbean team were unlike anything he had ever seen. Moyakamela saw what could be achieved through the sport. While Moyakamela’s peers continued with soccer, he switched to cricket, and rounded up others to start an informal club. More than two decades later, they’re still going strong.

“Growing up in Hoedspruit, I always had the desire to break the mould,” Moyakamela says. “Despite the political instability of my town, my brother and I knew we could make something work.” Together, they founded The Oaks Cricket Club, fashioning bats out of pieces of wood and making do with tennis balls. Their initiative has since attracted a growing number of kids. Moyakamela believes the club is a necessity. “With cricket being a major sport in South Africa, it is important that every child gets the chance to play,” he says. The club runs after school on weekdays and for longer periods during the school holidays to give the children a healthy outlet for their energy. “Today, the club has over 70 kids and I use the sport to keep kids away from alcohol, drugs, and off the streets,” Moyakamela says.

In spite of his efforts, challenges prevail. The club plays on concrete, and are appealing for a proper grass field to practice on. “Even though we don’t have a lot, we have spirit and I want these kids to continue to chase their passions,” he says. The club members participate regularly in school leagues against players with better facilities.“We believe that if you want something, you have to make it happen,” Moyakamela says. Together with the young cricket players, Moyakamela is working his way to creating something better. “If we chase our dreams with good spirit we can build a beautiful South Africa,” he says.