United Through Sport South Africa has recently formed a unique relationship with Jeppe High School for Boys, which has the history of being the oldest public school in Johannesburg as well as one of the top 20 boys’ schools in the country. It has produced some inspirational individuals such as Jake White (World Cup winning South African Rugby Coach). Jeppe has a number of Scholarship Funds, with the Theo Jackson scholarship fund being the link between the school and United Through Sport South Africa.
Through the United Through Sport SA Mass Participation Programme run in the township primary schools and supported by A Chance To Play (ACTP), United Through Sport SA identified 3 young boys to go for the selection process for the scholarship. After a series of tests and interviews, Zolisa Faba, from Isaac Booi Primary School, was the lucky candidate who was given the scholarship.
Zolisa is a 13 year old boy who is soon to be an orphan, as his father passed away and his mother is terminally ill. Up to now, he has been brought up by his grandmother who is extremely excited that her grandchild now has the prospect of such a bright future ahead. With only a year into rugby, Zolisa made the finals for the EP U/13 Craven week, which is a good achievement considering his home situation and level of experience on the rugby field! This is a reflection of why Zolisa was selected, due to his strength of character, his will to succeed and his all round determination, despite his home background, which is what the Theo Jackson Scholarship fund values above academic and sporting excellence.
Amongst other firsts, flying up to Johannesburg for his interview was a highlight for Zolisa, who had never been on a plane before. There were so many aspects that Zolisa struggled to comprehend after his first visit to Jeppe, amongst them the fact that he would be receiving five meals a day (two cooked) as part of the boarding program. Previously Zolisa has had to survive on only one basic meal each day, he excitedly said “This is unbelievable, it shows me that dreams really do come true”.
It is intended that Zolisa will stay in the program for five years, receiving top education, sports coaching and individual support until he graduates at age 18. From here he will be in a fine position to move on to further success in life. Jeppe has a 98% matric pass rate compared to the school Zolisa would have otherwise attended with a pass rate of just 23%.
The scholarship covers all the academic requirements; Zolisa’s school fees, his boarding and food, books and uniform. In addition to this, Zolisa will be receiving individual support regarding him going home to Port Elizabeth every term, extra clothing, toiletries, excursions and pocket money from the fund. This scholarship was established by two brothers, Dale and Craig Jackson, in memory of their late father (who himself was an orphan given the opportunity to go to Jeppe) and it provides opportunities for orphaned boys, boys being raised by single parents or extended family to receive the education and grooming from this school to support them to grow into fine young men.
Jeppe High School for Boys is renowned for its history and its boys giving back to society, so we know Zolisa is in good hands and trust he will make us proud. “It is great for us to be partnering with schools nationally as it means United Through Sport SA is not only recognised in the immediate townships we work in and it creates the chance for our kids to be given greater opportunities”, Nosipho ‘Spakes’ Xapile, United Through Sport SA Project Manager. Zolisa would not have received this opportunity if he had not taken part and been identified by the ACTP supported United Through Sport SA Mass Participation Program.