FORMER rugby Springbok and Walmer resident, Makhaya Jack, is intent on reviving the sport in the area, and hopes to produce future stars for the Eastern Province Kings and the Springboks.
The initiative was launched at a four-day sports event hosted by the Walmer Wallabies and Walmer Wales rugby clubs last month.
The event at Walmer High School, also honoured 20 sports stars of yesteryear, including Jack, who have contributed to raising the profile of sport in the township.
Other rugby players honoured at the event were the late Gillman Noqoli, the late Xolile Mkata, the late Thembekile Peter, Ntonga Singita, Archie Mkele and Xolile Nojoko.
A number of sports were played during the four days, but the main focus was on rugby.
Jack, a member of the organising committee, said the initiative was an effort to put back the pillars that held up Walmer Township rugby in the past.
“Being products of that environment, we are eager to instill a sense pride and responsibility in our youth through sport,” he said.
The organisers believe rugby was a dominant source of discipline for the community’s youth in the past, and their local leaders were groomed on the playing field.
Jack said the weekend, which would now be an annual event, was only the start of the long-term strategy to rediscover the talent the area once boasted, and to nurture it back to a level they could be proud of.
Jack, who now lives in Motherwell, was born in Walmer Township and coaches several school teams in both areas.
He is passionate about growing rugby in the Walmer Township and feels strongly about returning to the place of his birth.
“There is potential but it will take hard work to develop the youth. “We want to ensure that the Southern Kings stay in the Super 14 and that we produce more black players for them.”
The Walmer Wales Rugby Club was one of the founder clubs of the famous KwaZakhele Rugby Union which affiliated to SARU in 1971.
The first group of black Springboks came from Walmer Township in the 1950s.
The late Gillman Noqoli, a member of Walmer Wales Rugby Club, was the first of these Springboks and between 1950 and 1956 he was a regular in both the Eastern Province and Springbok teams.
This year Walmer Wales celebrates 85 years of existence.
Wallabies celebrates its 60th anniversary next year.