School delighted with gift of R1.8m multipurpose sports field from MultiChoice

The Mpeko Secondary Centre of Sporting Excellence.
The Mpeko Secondary Centre of Sporting Excellence.

Mpeko Senior Secondary has become the first Mthatha school to have a state-of-the-art multipurpose sports court worth R1.8m, thanks to a gift from MultiChoice. 

The pay-TV company, through its SuperSport Let’s Play programme, reinforced its commitment to nurturing the next generation of champions with the unveiling of a 40mx20m multipurpose sports field which will cater for softball, volleyball, modified hockey, netball and seven-a-side football at the Mpeko Secondary Centre of Sporting Excellence.

Sandile Luthuli, MultiChoice CSI manager for sports programmes, said the gift was part of MultiChoice’s champions grassroots empowerment initiative in the Eastern Cape.

“As a testament to its dedication to grassroots sports development, MultiChoice has embarked on a remarkable journey, donating state-of-the-art sports fields to schools across SA.”

Luthuli said the gift to Mpeko was the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at bridging the infrastructure gap and providing students with access to world-class sporting facilities.

“The Let’s Play multipurpose sports field serves as more than just a venue for physical activity; it symbolises hope, opportunity, and the belief in the limitless potential of every child.

“Through sport, pupils learn invaluable lessons in teamwork, discipline and leadership, essential skills which transcend the boundaries of the playing field.”

Sports coaches at the school will undergo training in the latest physical education methodologies, ensuring optimal use of the field and fostering a culture of active participation among pupils.

“As SA continues to make strides on the global sports stage, MultiChoice remains committed to maintaining this momentum and ensuring that future generations follow in the footsteps of today’s champions through its various initiatives,” Luthuli said.

Two former Mpeko teachers — Mkhangeli Matomela and Mahlubandile Qwase — went on to become Eastern Cape education MECs, while former pupil advocate Vusumzi Msiwa, SC, was one of SA’s rugby administrators.

Former premier Phumulo Masaulle is from Mpeko, but did not attend the high school.

The school achieved a 70.2% matric pass rate in 2023. It has 625 pupils and 17 teachers.

An upbeat principal Thobela Madubela said: “This is history in the making for the school.

“This sports field will enable pupils to take the school back to its former glory in terms of sport and academic performance.”

Madubela said his school was unmatched in softball.

“We started playing softball in 2000 and have never looked back. In all that time there has never been an Eastern Cape softball school team without our players,” he said.

Hockey is to be introduced as a new sports code.

“The school will be a hub for hockey-playing schools at Circuit 9. There will be a league for primary schools and another for high schools.”

The initiative happened after Madubela made contact with former pupils, who directed him to the office of parliament’s sport, recreation, arts and culture portfolio chair Beauty Dlulane, who is originally from Mpeko.

“She made it all possible.”

A thrilled Msiwa matriculated from Mpeko in 1978.

“Sound minds in sound bodies,” he said.

“For this country to have transformed sporting codes we need to inculcate this responsibility which is being done through this gesture to develop our young pupils to prepare them to participate on both national and international levels so that crime is decreased in our communities.

“The education department [tends] to concentrate only on learning and teaching and disregards sport and other extramural activities.

“The two must go together. Sport inculcates discipline, creates opportunities and develops leaders. We generally only see things of this kind in urban areas.”

Msiwa, an athlete and rugby player who later played for Wallabies, was Transkei Rugby president for many years.

He was later a member of the SA Rugby Football Union executive.

“This is all the seeds that are planted at this school and we want today’s pupils to achieve more than all of us.”

Luthuli said the MultiChoice community development programme was aimed at improving sporting facilities in rural and township areas to encourage young people to be physically active.

Fifteen similar structures have been constructed across the country in the past two years, four of them in the Eastern Cape — at Mqikela Senior Secondary School in Lusikisiki, Tsholomnqa Senior Secondary School in East London, Butterworth High School and Mpeko.

The fields cost between R1.8m and R3.5m depending on size.

Dlulane, who is now retiring from parliament, is delighted with the support of SuperSport’s regulatory and enterprises director Graham Abrahams in promoting sport in rural areas.

“Without the support of Graham in these years we could not be where we are today,” she said.



Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.