On the whole, rowing is not a popular sport amongst people of colour in South Africa. Germiston High School is a secondary school in Johannesburg with a rowing club full of dedicated young athletes who are not discouraged by this lack of familiarity.
Many of the children come from disadvantaged backgrounds and the club itself receives minimal support from parents, sponsors and Rowing South Africa (RowSA). Despite this and the many other challenges they face, a spirit of perseverance runs through the club and this has led to some outstanding results. Athletes from Germiston have been selected for the South African Schools Rowing Union and travelled to the UK to race at regattas here during our summer season. The awesome video below captures a real insight into the club and the difficulties they face.
It is all too easy to take the equipment that we have available to us for granted. Germiston have a handful of race-worthy shells, but the majority of their fleet consists of old, hand-me-down boats that are donated by private schools, and they don’t have the funding to carry out many necessary repairs. Their boat shed is a dilapidated shack from the squatter camps, and their clubhouse is in desperate need of repair. On the 17th January this year, they were hit by a devastating storm which destroyed the shed and all the equipment that it contains.
It has taken many years for the club to build up the equipment that they do have, and just a week before the RMB VLC Sprints Regatta held locally at Victoria Lake, they have lost almost everything. They will need as much support as the rowing community can give to rebuild the club and continue to offer children at Germiston High School the opportunity to row.
Supporters have started a crowdfunding page to raise funds to rebuild the club.
Please share and donate in whatever capacity you can.
Lucinda Douse and the AllMarkOne Team