Chess tournament in Lavender Hill. SUPPLIED
Chess tournament in Lavender Hill. SUPPLIED

Chess fights violence

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Jun 5, 2021

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Cape Town - Lavender Hill community leader Ralph Bouwers is keeping children safe by playing chess, gardening and cycling.

Last week, the children aged between 7 and 15 held a chess tournament for the first time after beginning the programme two months ago.

Bouwers said he conducts the activities to inspire children and to keep them safe in the community.

He previously lived in the United Kingdom where he worked as optician and hypnotherapist.

“We launched the chess programme to create a space where children can sit and have calmness and it also teaches them how to be strategic and to plan,” said Bouwers. He said they lacked a facility and were literally playing chess on pavements.

“This is to draw the children off the streets as we have gang violence and while their parents are working,” he added.

“We do not have a venue, so chess is played on the pavement with tables. We had our first tournament last week and we have winners who received a prize and medal. The winner in the junior category was Jordan Engelbrecht aged 11 and we also had winners in the under-16 division.”

“Our chess master has since not been able to enter the community due to the shootings.

Bouwers said they also run programmes such as a cycling club, gardening and arts and crafts.”

Marlene Satarien, who runs the soup kitchen, Abundant Life, also assists Bouwers with his programmes.

“Due to the gang violence and parents who are working, these activities are created to keep them occupied and safe,” she said, adding: “This is also for the period when they are off from school during this Covid-19 period.”

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