When Temba Bavuma scored his maiden Test century in January last year, he did so as thousands of cricket fans chanted his name in the Newlands stands. Bavuma told media: “I looked today at the kids who were there for the KFC Mini cricket festival at lunch. Half of those kids come from Langa and half of them know my name. Whenever I go back to Langa I know I’m going to have those kids running around me.”
While poor townships such as Langa have produced many sporting stars like Bavuma, it was often through a combination of tenacity and blind luck, being noticed by the right people.
For the most part, these young talents go unnoticed. How many sporting geniuses have missed their opportunity at the big time simply because they didn’t have access to the kinds of recourses, be it equipment or well-connected trainers, of their more privileged counterparts?
This is where Ayanda Cuba and Buntu Matole come in. Cuba and Matole are two young men from Khayelitsha who have combined their passion for sport with that of uplifting their community.
“We believe that sport is key to any child’s development and helps create an environment that can improve their communication skills and discipline, strengthen their physical and mental muscles, and help them grow into tomorrow’s leaders,” they say.
Through their NGO, Sporting Code, they facilitate educational outings, sports tournaments, coaching clinics and leagues for schools, communities and businesses.
And now, the two have taken their passion project to a worldwide audience with the launch of an Experience on global site Airbnb.
Launched in 2016, Airbnb’s Experiences are immersive bookable activities for travellers who want to go beyond simply visiting a place. Whether it’s truffle hunting in Florence, violin making in Paris or marathon running in Kenya – they represent a new vision of tourism: to see a city through the eyes of locals. In addition, “social impact experiences” pair guests with knowledgeable hosts from local nonprofits and get to know their causes. 100% of what guests pay goes directly to the organisations. Doing good and enjoying a holiday don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and these days, many travelers believe in combining the two. . Ayanda and Buntu’s Sport is Power initiative represents the essence of this trend towards responsible tourism.
There are three parts of the experience that takes place over two days; it starts with a run to the township’s highest point - Lookout Hill. As fit as Ayanda and Buntu are, they don’t leave any slower-paced people behind.
Lookout Hill is one of Khayelitsha’s most famous spots, allowing you to see all the way to the ocean on one side, and Table Mountain on the other.
The two men have an almost unmatched knowledge of the place. As you catch your breath on the deck, Ayanda stretches out his arm, pointing out that the view is “like looking into the past”.
When facing the mountain, Kuyasa, one of the newest settlements in Khayelitsha lies to the right. As you turn to your left you see Site C, the oldest settlement.
After Lookout, Cuba and Matole take guests to Chumisa Primary, one of the schools for which they are raising funds for proper sports facilities.
“The experience ties into a lot of different things and the community we work with. We love people and this allows us to talk to people. We’ve enjoyed it so much we went and registered as guides! That’s what this connection with Airbnb has given us,” says Ayanda.
While guests might find that all the activities are quite the workout, most say the most life-changing part is getting to work with the children, from those at Chumisa, to shooting hoops at Khayelitsha Special School where the kids face not just the challenge of a lack of shoes and equipment, but also have special needs such as Down Syndrome.
Buntu speaks of an American couple who did the “Sport is Power” Experience with them recently. They were so moved, that they asked guests at their wedding to donate to Sporting Code instead of getting gifts.
The pair says that being on a global platform, has opened up different worlds to them.
“Airbnb has turned the world of tourism upside down for us. Tourism is about showing someone a glass window perspective of what's happening. But this experience allows people to see something from your perspective. And to be with you as you do something and you’re not just told about it”.
Who knows. Maybe you can book this Experience and unknowingly work out with the next budding Temba Bavuma.