It is fair to say that most of us are fully in stride for 2020. The year is packed full of events that require us to get our ducks in a row rather expeditiously.
2020 and beyond
The All Blacks will be visiting the cradle of humankind and experiencing load shedding for the first time since they stole the game from us in Pretoria, and Gwijo Squad will be sure to remind them that we’re World Champions (venues and dates not released yet, but that’s never stopped us from planning and preparing), additionally Scotland and Georgia could provide us with a nice vocal warm-up (assuming that at least one of the 3 tests will be in Joburg or Pretoria).
More immediately, there is the small matter of a horde of warm beer-drinking vitamin D deficient delinquents traipsing around our country making a noise in our stadiums like this is their mother’s house. We can’t stand for such disrespect in our backyard. Everyone and I mean everyone, needs to stand up and defend our country’s honour by unleashing our full arsenal of amagwijo when we hold the fort at the Wanderers for the Test match and Pink Day.
For those who’ve not seen what’s been happening at the other stadiums, the English have come through in their masses and if we drag our feet in buying tickets we could find ourselves in the unthinkable position of being outnumbered in the Gwijo stronghold of the Bullring.
We can’t allow such a travesty. I, for one, cannot wait. The Wanderers is going to be a jump and I’m looking forward to showing the visitors what we’re made of.
A quick update on Gwijo Squad matters
2019 was certainly a watershed year for us, assisted in no small part by the fact that it was a World Cup year and Gwijo Squad had come to represent the changing face of South African rugby.
From the onset, the Gwijo Squad committee had resolved that we would use the platform that we’ve been given to impact the sporting environment on and off the field. To this end, we have set ambitious CSI goals that we are confident will be transformative for communities and individual young athletes in our target sports who need a leg-up to reach for their dreams. Over the year we had numerous activations in partnership with brands which has been instrumental in building our reserves.
As you all know, at present there is nobody on the committee who draws a salary or derives financial benefit in any way, and I would like to highlight and applaud this extraordinary selflessness from very busy people whose time and skills fetch a hefty price in the market. So to Nkosana Matyeshana, Naledi Mdyesha, Afika Selemani, Malibuye Cossie, Vuyisanani Mangisa, Qhayiya Linda, Chumaninande Mjajubana, Nondwe Maqubela, Mhlangenkululeko Siwisa, Mzwandile Riba, and Nqabomzi Matyeshana, on behalf of the greater Gwijo Squad community and indeed the sporting fraternity at large we thank you. Nangamso.
A special thanks to other Gwijists who have contributed massively as former committee members as well, Sijadu “CJ” Mzozoyana, Sipeto “Volo” Ganca, Phila Bitterhout, and Lusindiso “Loza” Dabula. Your contribution to laying the foundation on which Gwijo Squad is being built has been invaluable.
So, where to from here?
We’ve agonised about what the best structure would be for what we’re trying to achieve for Gwijo Squad (in a nutshell, maximising membership numbers while delivering maximum value to gwijists). We have made a lot of progress in this regard and have gotten valuable advice from other organisations on how best to model the Gwijo Squad going forward (shout out to the Barmy Army who have given us great insight in how they run their organising as well). We’re yet to bed these down as the committee has not met yet this year, but we’ll do so shortly and details of the way forward.
There are a few major goals that we want to achieve over the next 4 years, culminating in 2000 Gwijists going to France for the World Cup in 2023. This is a giant undertaking and, frankly, is the kind of massively ambitious goal that needs a dedicated project manager because the elements are so complicated and time-intensive. We’re already in the process of developing a detailed campaign around it with the assistance of financial consultants, Lifecheq. Please keep this in the back of your mind because, if we are to pull this off, were going to need a massive group effort from the entire Gwijo Squad.
On the subject of looking forward to 2023, South Africa were awarded the hosting of the next Netball World Cup in Cape Town. An exciting development indeed. Over the last 4 years, the Spar Proteas have rebuilt to being amongst the highest echelons of the sport and the journey to 2023 promises to be quite a ride, and we’re here for it.
As things stand, the Gwijo Squad reserves stand at R329,342 thanks to your effort in getting brands to back us and in then showing up to do what we do best. A special shout out to Klipdrift, MTN, Showmax, & DSTV. The key ingredient in maintaining momentum and steady growth is consistency and quality administration. At present, between the committee members, we’ve managed to divvy up responsibility but, as the squad grows in both number and ambition, it’ll become too large and involved for a bunch of part-timer volunteers to handle and we’ll need to employ people to run the squad on a day-to-day basis (I assure you, this will not be me 😂). I expect that we’ll only get there in 2021 but it’s an important development to start thinking about and planning for.
How about that final at the Sandton Convention Centre?
WOOOOOOOW! You guys are actually amazing. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I shed a tear or 15 in my wife’s arms after Makazole’s try because it was clear at that moment that the game was over and Siya was going to lift the trophy.
But it wasn’t simply the winning the brought me to tears, it was that it was happening with 1,200 South Africans in Sandton singing igwijo. We even had capped Springboks watching with us!!! People brought their parents, even. It was other-worldly what we pulled off and you can all be extremely proud of yourselves.
What an inspiring experience. It’s a high I’ll likely chase for the rest of my life.
There are probably things that I’ve overlooked and I’ll have to cover in a later update but this was mostly to say thank you for an unforgettable 2019, and I’ll see you all at the Wanderers.