Minister Anroux Marais' Speech At The Skateboard Park Launch In Atlantis
WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND SPORT, ANROUX MARAIS
SKATEBOARD PARK LAUNCH: ATLANTIS
14 MAY 2018
Good day, goeiedag, molweni nonke,
I am both delighted and excited to officially launch not one but two skateboard parks in Atlantis today.
As a leading Western Cape Government project the After School Game Changer works to ensure that every learner from a no and low fee school across the province has access to quality after school programmes across four activity pillars. Based on substantial evidence, the we believe that regular participation in after school programmes will improve learner outcomes, reduce school dropout rates and reduce risk-taking behaviour.
After School Programmes are offered by a range of partners, both within and outside of the Western Cape Government. Hundreds of school leaders, organisations and practitioners work tirelessly to provide quality extended education for learners in the Western Cape. Opportunities are provided through engaging learners in sport, arts, culture, literacy, numeracy and academic support and strong committed leadership lies at the heart of most programming success.
As is in many communities across the province, learners in Atlantis, Mamre and Pella face many of the same challenges encountering their peers around the country – challenges which draw them further from achieving their full potential, whether it’s the pull to drop out of school, prolonged exposure to gang violence or the other effects of risky behaviour and the unconstructive choices available to so many of our youth from under-resourced areas.
For these reasons, the Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town came together to make the Atlantis community a shared priority, working together to provide a network of after school programme support across the four activity pillars between the 16 schools, 4 recreation hubs, three libraries and various NGOs offering programmes. To this end, the Atlantis, Mamre and Pella communities are alive with “Game Changers” placed at these various sites, facilitated by the inspiring and motivated people committed to providing after school programmes to learners across these three communities.
Which brings us to why we are here today at Reygersdal Primary School. One of the biggest opportunity areas of the After School Game Changer team is to do the important thinking and acting work to ensure that after school programmes are intentional and demand-driven, to ensure that these programmes are well attended, and that they attract and retain a broad cross section of both dedicated school goers, and equally important: those learners more undecided about school. What we know is that learners vote with their feet, and if they are not interested in what is being offered, this is evidenced by low learner numbers and often times, very little mastery in programmes offered.
Central to the work of the After School Game Changer is testing different offerings to respond to diverse learner needs, whether it’s for those more interested in technology, the arts, or in the case of these two fantastic skateboard parks, for those who enjoy an adrenaline rush! In this way, these two amazing skateboards parks have been built, both “here” and at Saxonsea Secondary School. We are also proud to have once again worked with the non-governmental sector, and in this case have partnered with Indigo Youth Movement, the service provider who built the parks, have trained the instructors and operationally manage the parks’ usage with the respective school management teams. A special mention must also go to the two school principals who have embraced the parks, along with the scrapes and bruises that come from an action sport. To this end, safety of learners is paramount and programming is offered in stages and always supervised, so as to ensure that learners get to know how to skate safely.
I look forward to hearing great stories emerging from these two skateboard parks, and furthermore to hear suggestions of other after school activities that learners would like to participate in – in this sense this is the time to dream!
In order for this movement that we are building to gain traction, I urge all schools to entrench their position as the centre of their communities, to keep their doors open late into the afternoon, and to work with a range of partners to offer our learners the much needed safe and caring space to engage their passions, ignite their imaginations and envision their life opportunities better.
I leave you with the words of Albert Einstein, “Play is the highest form of research”, so without further ado, let the children play!
I thank you.