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Ken Borland



Kwinana thrilled the most by development clinic 0

Posted on October 27, 2022 by Ken

SOUTHBROOM, KwaZulu-Natal – For Vodacom’s Eleni Kwinana, the Executive Head of Department for Vodacom Business Marketing KZN, the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series is a wonderful chance for their amateur clients to connect with Sunshine Tour professionals, but what thrilled her the most on the pro-am’s opening day at San Lameer Country Club on Tuesday was the development clinic.

Around 20 kids from disadvantaged areas on the KZN South Coast attended the development clinic, and Kwinana was delighted to see some of the same boys and girls who had attended the corresponding event at Selborne Park Golf Club in 2020.

“To give young kids from areas where they would never be exposed to golf the chance to get some coaching is very heartwarming, and I even recognised some of the boys and girls from two years ago at Selborne. They have sprung up, and it was brilliant to see them again,” Kwinana said.

“Youth education is one of our key pillars at Vodacom and helping communities has almost become a way of life for us, we don’t see CSI programmes as being something separate from our day-to-day work.

“Where we see a need, we help or we find someone who can help. Like our zero-rated Vodacom e-School which allows pupils to access their curriculum and test themselves. My own daughter went from a D aggregate to an A for maths, and it doesn’t cost a cent if you’re a Vodacom customer.

“There’s also our Code Like a Girl programme, where we find girls nationally who have never touched a tech device, we teach them during the June holidays, and by the time school starts again they are able to sort out their own website,” Kwinana said.

While Vodacom’s grand plan is to allow people from every district and rural area to also Connect For Good in this digital age, sometimes disaster strikes, whether it be in the form of the civil unrest that plagued KwaZulu-Natal in July 2021 or the massive floods that engulfed the province in April/May this year. And then Vodacom spring into action with a range of emergency relief measures.

“Vodacom is investing R1 billion of infrastructure into KZN, which is the biggest investment in the province. We find working with communities leads to much better longevity and protection of our assets, and so we never ever neglect our communities.

“We are there for their benefit, which is why when the floods came, we donated R3 million worth of relief aid through the Gift of the Givers, but we also went out to communities that had not been assisted yet and brought them blankets and food.

“During the riots we restored cellphone coverage a lot quicker than usual for those suppliers that the economy depends on, we gave them makeshift satellite dishes. We do these things so we can thrive as a province.

“We helped keep suburbs safe and restored businesses’ connectivity so the economy could bounce back as quickly as possible,” Kwinana said.

So helping people from all walks of life is par for the course for Vodacom. And golf has enjoyed their patronage and support for longer than most sports, with the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series running since 2004. It is the longest-running series of events on the Sunshine Tour.

“We really enjoy seeing the professionals and amateurs connect at our tournaments. Especially in this post-Covid time because people have been starved of human contact,” Kwinana said.

But with Vodacom involved so massively in the entire golf ecosystem , that human touch will always be around.

Developing grassroots talent is obvious work for Vodacom 0

Posted on October 10, 2022 by Ken

DULLSTROOM, Mpumalanga – For Ntombi Mhangwani, the executive head of department for Vodacom Business Marketing, it is obvious that if Vodacom has customers in a certain province then they need to look at how they develop the talent from the grassroots in that area.

Mhangwani was speaking at the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) clinic held at Highland Gate Golf and Trout Estate; these clinics are something the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series has supported while growing the game and empowering communities during their 18 years of involvement with the Sunshine Tour.

“In a country like South Africa, with the levels of inequality we have, certain life experiences like golf courses are natural for some but for others it is completely foreign. If we want to nullify these inequalities then we have to reach the disadvantaged areas as well,” Mhangwani said as 18 youngsters, between the ages of seven and 16, from the Nelspruit, Lydenburg and Dullstroom districts were happily hitting balls on the Highland Gate driving range under the watchful eye of the Sunshine Tour professionals giving of their time to provide some coaching.

“These kids will paint their picture of life out what they believe is possible, and this is how we can build dreams. Some of these kids have never seen houses so big or grass so green, but we want to tell them that just because this is how South Africans live in other communities, it does not mean they can have no access to it.

“When Vodacom says it wants to inspire change by going Further Together, we mean we want to develop together. So that means building and giving back to the communities that are our consumer base.

“The only way to do that is by working in partnerships with the communities and giving their children exposure. It’s not about throwing money at the problem, but about authentic partnerships,” Mhangwani said.

Vodacom’s involvement in golf goes way beyond just their superb support of the professionals – the Origins of Golf tournaments are the longest-running series on the Sunshine Tour – and giving back to communities is one of their core principles.

Partnering with the SAGDB to show the younger generation that golf can be a pathway to success is one of Vodacom’s key vehicles for change, and the purpose and life-skills golf can give to learners is something Mhangwani loves about the game.

“Golf is about a value system, training and discipline, and that can permeate into these youngsters’ schooling, their life at home and choosing the right friends.

“Champions are also born out of watching other champions practise, passing their knowledge and skills on. Exposure builds potential, it allows these learners to dream.

“If even one person at the clinic looks at the game and says that they want to be part of golf, they want to do that too, then we have succeeded,” she said.

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    Persevere in your service as Christ did – through obstacles, disappointment and adversity, and never give up hope.

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