Klarinet Sports Facility

Klarinet Sports Facility

Unpaved streets are the norm in Klarinet - a small community in the fast-growing Emalahleni Municipality, Mpumalanga. That’s why the grassy field and smooth courts at the new multi-sports facility, handed over to the community by Exxaro in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, 12 May 2017, was such a revelation to Mr Mawethu Barnaba, a teacher and sports coach at Klarinet’s Alex Manabeng Mampana Primary School.


“Our school is an old farm school and we have almost no facilities,” Mr Barnaba said at the launch. “We are still teaching in temporary classrooms, with no sports fields. When our children want to play sport, they normally have to play in the dust. Not anymore. For them, this new facility is like heaven!”


Apart from football and netball, Mr Barnaba is also passionate about coaching rugby, which he says is catching on among the youth. “The children can see their heroes on TV now,” he said, “and they get very excited about rugby. They just want to play - to be like the stars that they watch on the screen. So, we’re very happy to have this facility. Now I have somewhere to coach them properly.”


All the schools in the area, along with other sports lovers in the community, will be able to use the Klarinet multi-sports facility. It has a grassed field for football or rugby, as well as two multipurpose courts for tennis, netball, volleyball, and basketball. The stands can accommodate 300 spectators facing the soccer/rugby field, with bleachers facing the courts.


The facility also includes public toilets, a kiosk, a caretaker’s office, storage rooms, change rooms, and showers. It has been equipped with a variety of sporting and landscaping equipment and is secured by a sturdy palisade fence. It was the community itself that decided the facility was a priority need in Klarinet, so every effort has been made to make sure they can preserve their new jewel.


At the 12 May handover ceremony, in which dignitaries from the Department of Mineral Resources, the Emalahleni Municipality and Exxaro Resources mingled with the project team and local residents - including dozens of excited school children - this was a point made by several of the speakers. The sports facility was not dreamed up by Exxaro; it was the people of Klarinet, in consultation with the municipality and the mining house, that identified the need for a sports ground to empower their youth.


That’s a view backed up by experts. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, supports sport as a tool against crime and drug use among the youth. Statistics show that proper access to sports and recreation can divert at-risk youth from criminal activities, reduce teenage pregnancy rates, teach life-skills like team-work, planning and persevering after defeats, and in general, create more peaceful, collaborative communities.


“This facility will keep our young people healthy and fit,” said Emalahleni MMC: Community Services, Mr Derrick Skhosana. “It will keep them off the streets, and away from all the negative activities that prey on our youth.” He urged everyone present to take ownership of the facility and look after it.