Pioneer Fishing West Coast, the home of Glenryck, has teamed up with Rayno Benjamin, Blitzbok star, to launch the Benji Rugby Academy in St Helena Bay.
Pioneer Fishing West Coast is a major role player in the pelagic fishing industry. It operates in a fishing community and has an active corporate social investment (CSI) policy through which the company invests and assists various institutions.
Rayno Benjamin was born and bred in St Helena Bay and used to work for Pioneer Fishing. He was representing the company in the annual Fishing Industry Sports Tournament when he was discovered. He started out playing rugby for the Boland Cavaliers, went on to play for the Stormers, Cheetahs and Lions, and subsequently played for the Blitzbokke for a number of seasons.
Stephen Dondolo, CEO of Glenryck, says that it very important for the company to invest in community projects like the Benji Rugby Academy. ‘It is important for Glenryck to invest in the youth of this country and to help them grow. We are one of the leading canned fish brands and realise that we have a social responsibility. We are proud of what we are doing in our community in St Helena Bay. The rugby academy is only one of the current initiatives we as a company are part of. Sport is an important part of our lives, and through sport we can unite not only the team, but we as parents and as fellow South Africans can also unite.’
The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and Glenryck is investing in the health and the well-being of the youth to secure these future leaders. The community has to work as a team, and what better sport than rugby to teach teamwork? Everyone is dependent on the team member next to them. As a team the community can win and achieve its goals.
The Benji Rugby Academy aims to benefit the youth in the St Helena Bay community in four areas:
Through a sport like rugby, young people feel that they have control over what they are achieving, and that they can express themselves. The rugby academy is accessible to people with a wide range of needs, abilities and backgrounds – it is something different, and gives them a break from routine and boredom. In the company of their peers, young people are in a safe and neutral place where they can develop and mature at their own pace.
Physical exercise has a positive effect on health, and the disciplined environment of sport encourages participants to follow a healthy lifestyle and diet, and to stop smoking, for example. The young people have an outlet for their energy, they can get rid of their stress and agitation, their frustration is channelled and they learn to control their feelings and emotions.
- Individual development
Players build strong, trusting relationships with coaches. They feel valued – someone cares, is interested in them, and listens to them. With coaches and other players as role models, they learn different ways of thinking about their lives and of practising life skills through their sport.
- Social and community development
Team players experience what it is like to work together, what comradeship is all about. They have shared goals and learn to accept roles and responsibilities. Leadership qualities are developed. The common ground of the rugby field brings people together, provides them with an opportunity to make new friends, forge new networks and break down barriers.
During this challenging period of Covid-19 and the restrictions that are placed on our lives, and especially on the lives of our young people, an initiative like the Benji Rugby Academy will help to divert young people in the St Helena Bay community from a possible life of crime and promote positive outcomes like future employment paths, better health and improved social skills.
‘Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than the government in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all kinds of discrimination.’ – Nelson Mandela, 25 May 2000