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Holiday sessions (December)

We had some special holiday sessions: staying fit and having some fun. A row, a swim, a lunch. Is there a better place to enjoy holiday than our Kowie River?

holiday session: a row, a swim, a lunch
holiday session: a row, a swim, a lunch

Beginners course (December)

It is holiday time, but for Nemato Rowing Club that does not mean nothing is happening. Our rowers are training and a new beginners course has started. The beginners get swimming and rowing lessons. The rowing lessons are at Kiddies Beach, a shallow lagoon where it is easy and safe to learn boat skills in single sculls. We teach basic rowing technique on ergos. Coaching is done by our own Nemato rowers.

rowing lessons at Kiddies Beach
swimming lessons for new Nemato rowers

Boat Race (8-9 December)

Boat Race is, together with SA Champs, the most important event on the South African rowing calender. Rowing clubs and schools from all around the country bring their best girls quad and/or boys eight to Port Alfred to compete at the highest level. The race on the Kowie River is over 4.0km for the girls and 6.2km for the boys.
It was the first time for the Nemato girls to compete. Our girls were by far the youngest and least experienced team. They finished last, but that is not something to feel bad about. There were only about two boat lengths between them and Germiston, and as an under 16 team, they still have 3 years to go. Imagine how much stronger and better they will be in three years time.
The Nemato boys competed in Boat Race for the second time. The team was well prepared with for example two training sessions together with last years winners St. Andrew's. The Nemato boys impressed everybody by its excellent technique and by beating old rowing schools like Bischops and Grey High School. The Nemato boys finished 10th. That is two places up from last year. The boys are the proud winners of the 'Most Improved Boys - Boat Race 2007' trophy.
Nemato Rowing Club was able to participate in the event thanks to the support of the club sponsor Murray & Roberts and the event sponsor Old Mutual.

Nemato boys training for Boat Race together with St. Andrew's rowers
Nemato boys competing at Boat Race

Selection Day (10 November)

The rowing club is looking for new members and organised a selection day. About 50 kids participated. We will make a selection out of this group for the novices swimming and rowing course that will start in the holiday.

testing on ergos for new members for Nemato Rowing Club
the group of kids at the selection day for Nemato Rowing Club

Heads Regatta (3 November)

This weekend we went to East London for the Heads Regatta, a competition on the Buffalo River for Eastern Cape junior rowers. Our transport broke down on the way to East London, but Rhodes University organised alternative transport for us very quickly. Our club was very sucessful again winning 5 of the 9 races we participated in: boys under 16 C scull (Marshall Faro), boys under 19 5th & 6th scull (Lubabalo Matthews), boys under 19 3rd scull (Athenkosi Hlekani), boys under 19 3rd eight (Bulelani Zono, Xolani Tokota, Tsepo Dyakala, Qhamani Qhutywa, Lunga Mcetywa, Chuma Nyendwana, Lubabalo Matthews, Athenkosi Hlekani and cox Mbulelo Nelson) and girls under 16 B quad (Nolufefe Ngotsha, Nontlonipho Mzizi, Noxolo Wole, Kayakazi Madikane and cox Nompumelelo Gongqa).

Nemato rowers after winning the third eights race
Nemato rowers relaxing after the competition

Volkswagen factory (30 October)

When you grow up in our township, your world is small. To empower our youth, we show them a bigger world. The rowers visited the Volkswagen factory in Uitenhage, close to Port Elizabeth. Amazing to see how from bits and pieces a whole car is put together and drives out of the factory at the end of the line. (Cameras only allowed outside the factory and in the museum)

Nemato rowers at the entrance of the Volkswagen factory in Uitenhage
Nemato rowers in front of the Volkswagen museum

Knysna Regatta (27 October)

Nemato Rowing Club went for the first time to the Knysna Regatta to face competitors from the entire the Eastern and Western Cape provinces. It was a big step because at this competition there are only races on first team level; we normally compete at second and third team level. We selected our 16 elite rowers to participate in 10 different races. The results were far beyond expectations. All our teams made it to the finals.
The girls established a reputation as strong competitors: second place for Nontlonipho Mzizi and third place for Nolufefe Ngotsha in the 16 B sculls and winning the 16 B quad (Nolufefe Ngotsha, Nontlonipho Mzizi, Noxolo Wole, Kayakazi Madikane and cox Nompumelelo Gongqa).
The boys performed very well in the scull races: excellent wins for Marshall Faro in the 16 B scull and Chuma Nyendwana in the 18 B sculls, and a stunning second place for Athenkosi Hlekani in the 18 A sculls. Our eight amazed everybody by first reaching the final and then in the final rowing to a third place behind the national champions St. Andrew's from Grahamstown and national championship finalist Selborne from East London, beating the first eight from the old rowing school Grey from Port Elizabeth.
All together this was the best regatta ever for Nemato Rowing Club, showing that we are competitive at the highest level in the country.

proud Nemato Rowing Club girls after winning the 16 B quad at the Knysna Regatta
Nemato eight on the way to the start for the first eight race at the Knysna Regatta

Parents Day (14 October)

The rowing club invited the parents of the rowers for a function to improve the communication between the club and the parents. The organisation of the day was in the hands of the rowers, who organised a nice lunch.

parents looking at the computers in the office of Nemato Rowing Club
Nemato rowers relaxing after organising the parents day

ZRC Regatta (13 October)

Nemato Rowing Club went with 23 rowers to the ZRC Regatta in Port Elizabeth. Very windy weather gave the rowers a hard time, but we are proud winners of 3 races: a convincing win in boys U19 3rd eight (Bulelani Zono, Xolani Tokota, Tsepo Dyakala, Qhamani Qhutywa, Lunga Mcetywa, Chuma Nyendwana, Lubabalo Matthews, Athenkosi Hlekani and cox Mbulelo Nelson), a nice one for Sinawo Leteane in the boys U19 4th scull and an excellent win by our Captain Athenkosi Hlekani in a very strong field in the boys U19 2nd scull. In the scull races we are showing that rowing is not only about being big and strong; with good technique and boat skills, you can beat much stronger rowers.

Nemato rowers winning their race at the ZRC Regatta in Port Elizabeth
Nemato rowers with the medals for winning their race at the ZRC Regatta in Port Elizabeth

Jack Cheetham Award 2007 (25 September)

As the winners of the 2006 Murray & Roberts Jack Cheetham Award, we were invited to the 2007 award evening in the Sandton Sun Hotel in Johannesburg. We returned the floating trophy that was won this year by a hockey development project. Three rowers and the coach were spoilt to the extreme and experienced another world in upmarket Sandton. It was a great opportunity for the rowers to experience that the world is bigger than our township.

Nemato rowers in the Sandton Sun Hotel for the Jack Cheetham Award evening
Nemato rowers in Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton

Holiday hike (22-24 September)

The rowers went for a long hike from Port Alfred over the beach to Kenton and the next day over the road to Alexandria. A tough team building exercise. A challenging distance, no car to carry the luggage, no accommodation, just a small map and money for food. Only at the end of the second day a good braai in nice bush camp.

long beach hike for the Nemato rowers
a braai for the Nemato rowers after a long 2 day hike

Nemato Sculls Head (18 August)

Together with other coaches in the Eastern Cape we developed the idea of a long distance race in sculls for rowers who train in winter. In the end only our club was ready for competition: Nemato Sculls Head. It took place on the Kowie River over the same distance as Boat Race (6200m). Due to illness we had to cancel the girls race. We selected 5 rowers: 1. Chuma Nyendwana (26:23), 2. Lunga Mcetywa (26:44), 3. Athenkosi Hlekani (27:01), 4. Xolani Tokota (28:30), 5. Bulelani Zono (29:16).

the last 1000m of Nemato Sculls Head
the 5 participants of Nemato Sculls Head

National Arts Festival (4 July)

The rowers visited the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown as part of the life skills program. They saw a variety of shows and even showed painting talent.

Nemato Rowing Club visiting the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown
Nemato Rowing Club visiting the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown

Farewell party Aaron Block (5 June)

The events commission organised a farewell party for Aaron Block who, after volunteering as a coach for half a year, had to return to the United States. The rowers organised Aaron a party in township style with songs, traditional food and a huge cake saying: "Farewell Melumzi" (Aaron's Xhosa nickname). We thanked Aaron for all the work he has done for our rowing club.

Aaron Block's farewell party
Aaron Block's farewell party

Indoor Rowing Marathon (2 June)

To involve the rowers more in the club and to teach them more skills, the club started six commissions: equipment, photography, magazine, events, fund-raising and website commission. Each rower is member of a commission. The fund-raising commission did a great job by organising the marathon. The club's four indoor rowing machines were taken to the Heritage Mall and were in use from eight in the morning till seven in the evening. All rowers of the club rowed one or two 1 hour sessions and members of the public joined in. The total distance rowed was an impressive 431 482m. At the end of the day the fund-raising box was well filled with R1075.20.

indoor rowing marathon
indoor rowing marathon

SABC Destination SA (12 March)

SABC TV visited Port Alfred to film Nemato Rowing Club for Destination SA. Our rower Azisa Shode was camera man, interviewer and presenter. He showed the club, the rowers, rowing, and his house and the club's office in the township.

SABC Destination SA filming Nemato Rowing Club

SABC Destination SA filming Nemato Rowing Club


South African Junior Championships (2-4 March)

Nelson Mandela Township Rowing Club participated for the first time in South African Junior Championships. The event was at Roodeplaat Dam, north of Pretoria in Gauteng. The week long trip in itself was an adventure for the 21 rowers. Most of them had never been to Gauteng. Also the train on the way up and flying on the way back was new for most rowers. The results of the races were good. The level of competition is high, but most of our boats were able to beat a couple of other clubs. We are especially happy with a place in the B-final for the under 15 boys double and in the A-final for the boys under 16 quad.

Nemato girls under 16 quad on the way to the start at the South African Junior Rowing Championships

Nemato boys under 19 double on the way to the start at the South African Junior Rowing Championships

Buffalo Regatta (15-17 February)

Nemato Rowing Club proudly won 3 races in national competition at Buffalo Regatta in East London. The boys: Unathi Msi won Under 15 B single scull and Chuma Nyendwana won Under 19 3rd single scull. There was a first win for the Nemato girls: Under 16 B quad with Noxolo Wole, Sibongeseni Buwa, Neliswa Khonza, Nanziwe Maceba, Nompumelelo Gongqa (cox).

Nemato girls on the way to the start for their first winning race

Chuma Nyendwana winning Under 19 3rd single sculls at Buffalo Regatta in East London

Eastern Cape Championships (3 February)

A small group of rowers from Nemato Rowing Club participated in the Eastern Cape Championships. Lunga Mcetywa won the Under 19 3rd single sculls. Simlindile Veto won the U19 4th single sculls.

Nemato rowers preparing a boat for Eastern Cape Championships

Simlindile Veto on his way to the start for his winning race


Selection Day (27 January)

Nemato Rowing Club organised a selection day for new members for the club. 56 kids participated.

Nemato Rowing Club selection day

Nemato Rowing Club selection day

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