Amakhosi embarked on a recent trip to KwaZulu-Natal, where Kaizer Chiefs played two matches in the space of four days, first meeting AmaZulu at Umlazi’s King Zwelithini Stadium, just south of Durban, before clashing with Free State Stars at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. Kaizer Chiefs took time to visit Brilliant Khuzwayo’s alma mater as part of Amakhosi’s ongoing community outreach programmes.
The Naturena-based club, which has a close association with the Zulu kingdom, visited Ogwini Comprehensive High School, where goalkeeper Khuzwayo was a learner, to donate two sets of kit and soccer balls for their football teams to use from January 2018. The school has 3 357 learners registered for 2017.
“It is a great honour to be able to give back by donating our playing kit to Brilliant’s former school,” said Jessica Motaung, Kaizer Chiefs Marketing Director. “The discipline and experience gained by Brilliant during his time at Ogwini has served him in good stead and we anticipate the same for the new crop of learners, who will be competing in their new kit next year.”
The usual excitement and atmosphere whenever Kaizer Chiefs are in the community was evident when Khuzwayo, who was accompanied by his teammates Keagan Buchanan, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, William Twala, Sibusiso Khumalo, Emmanuel Letlotlo as well as the club’s marketing team, arrived at the school on the morning of Friday, 24 November.
The club donated two sets of kit (home and away), Nike balls and gadgets courtesy of Vodacom, who were in Durban with Kaizer Chiefs to launch their summer campaign, Shake Every Day.
Ogwini Comprehensive High School was established in 1968 and is led by Dr Simon Dlamini, who has been the principal since 1998 (but was a teacher from 1985). He has a long and enviable track record, with a number of former Ogwini learners going on to achieve success in various professional fields, including accountants, lawyers and teachers, and will hopefully unearth another generation of potential young football stars that can look forward to a bright future.
Dr Dlamini, who is no stranger to Kaizer Chiefs, having played for the reserve team during his holidays in 1978/79, offered words of appreciation to the Glamour Boys for the occasion. “It is truly remarkable to see that a club of Kaizer Chiefs’ calibre is still in touch with the community and is always cognisant of the fact that their influence changes people’s lives. We hope that our alumni can do more for our schools to help build a bright future for our country,” he said.
The idea of investing in youth development through CSI with a view to future success has long been one of the key underlying strategies of Kaizer Chiefs’ involvement at the community level. The football club’s campaign positioning for this season, ‘One Team’ is an inspirational message to the youth that they too can become soccer icons if they work together.
Furthermore, a key element of Kaizer Chiefs’ involvement in events of this nature is to engage directly with the communities who’ve helped build the brand.
Jessica Motaung believes the integration of CSI into the marketing mix was fundamental. “We approach marketing and sponsorship holistically,” she said. “We see football as a catalyst for change for many of our people in communities – as I always say, to whom much is given, much is required. We work closely with local communities and organisations such as schools to develop skills both on and off the field through many of our initiatives.”
Many KZN-born players have donned the legendary Gold and Black jersey over the years and went on to make names for themselves at top professional level, as well as earning international recognition and becoming role-models for the nation’s youth in the process.
The man of the moment, Brilliant Khuzwayo, thanked the principal and teachers who, over the years, have guided him to become the man he is today. He also gave a word of encouragement to the current learners to stay in school, focus on education and refrain from using or experimenting with drugs and to stay away from bad temptations.
Kaizer Chiefs’ contribution to youth development goes further than facilitating football clinics and donating kits. Some of the other CSI initiatives include cyber bullying awareness and safe online behaviour, which is aimed at helping youngsters to deal with online abuse, by giving guidance and advice on how to tackle some of the social media challenges they are likely to face when on these platforms.
Dr Dlamini summed it up best, saying, “We are indeed fortunate to have the co-operation and support of the likes of Kaizer Chiefs, whose recognition of the crucial role played by development has enabled us to lay the groundwork that will reap handsome rewards in the future. It is the embodiment of its motto, One Team, One Family, One Voice, One Nation, One Africa.”