07 Jun

Thomas More College opens a wonderful new sports centre.

Thomas More College is, and always has been, at its heart a place of innovative, pioneering and brave thought leadership that seeks to empower every child individually to lead a life of fullness, purpose and authenticity. In our incredibly volatile and uncertain world, this is difficult. However, the Thomas More College ethos allows us to meet this world with empathy, focus, courage, creativity and clarity.

“In my relatively short time at this profoundly unique place of learning, I have witnessed the simplicity and liberating gravitas of our ethos as we have had to navigate our way through challenging, unchartered and sometimes treacherous waters,” says High School Headmaster Dave Wiggett. “Our ethos, our polestar, is indeed an ever-fixed mark which alters not when it alteration finds (Shakespeare, Sonnet 116).

“A clear vision within an organisation such as Thomas More College implies that it can be seen when the sky becomes cloudy and overcast when day becomes night or even when you close your eyes. A clear vision also stands the test of time.”

In Thomas More College’s case, the vision sometimes appeared larger and expensive and sometimes blurry, almost fading away and then at the appropriate moment it came into crystal clear focus and revealed itself into what has now become the new sports centre.

It is quite fitting, then, that this magnificent centre is being christened the iKhwezi Sports Centre. iKhwezi is, in our region’s lingua franca, the morning star, the guide to lost and weary travellers, the herald of a new day and fresh beginnings. It is constant, it is dependable, it is trustworthy and it is honest in its purpose.

Patrick Smith from Walker Smith Architects revealed an amazing and wonderful design of what the iKhwezi Sports Centre could look like. The layout was beautiful and spacious, it was practical and functional and we thought it might just also be affordable. So, with that goal in mind, we assembled a Steering Committee that was passionate, competent and included people who could provide the requisite professional, technical and financial input. A professional approach was adopted and following a rigorous tender process, Reed Simpson was appointed to build the centre. After many due diligence visits to other schools, Ms Wanri Venter (former HS HOD: Sport) and Patrick Smith recommended that we select Fintrex to provide and lay what is clearly a world-class floor.

The project was not without its challenges, primarily due to a black swan event called Covid-19 resulting in the country, the school and all building activity being suspended at the end of March 2020. Reed Simpson were able to return to site in mid-May, with this impressive facility (excluding the floor) being completed and handed over towards the end of September 2020.

Thomas More College hosted the official opening of the iKhwezi Sports Centre on April 15, 2021. The opening commenced with two indoor hockey matches – the 1st Boys’ vs Staff and 1st Girls’ vs Staff. The matches were followed by the formal proceeding of the centre being opened, whereby Mrs Deni Hornsey, recently retired Foundation Phase Headmistress (26 years), unveiled the commemorative plaque which is now mounted at the entrance to the centre. Mrs Hornsey played an instrumental role in the expansion and development of our beautiful school grounds and was part of the decision-making of this extraordinary facility. It was only fitting that we asked our current longest standing staff member (29 years’ service), Ms Carol Mbili, to cut the ribbon and officiate the opening of the centre.

Thomas More College is very proud to have hosted the 2021 Indoor Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON CUP) for both the Men and Ladies over the weekend of April 16-18, 2021. It was a high energy tournament with incredible hockey played by all teams. Jethro Eustice, SA Mens’ Indoor Hockey Captain, says: “We’re now at a venue that looks after Indoor Hockey”.

The iKhwezi Sports Centre currently incorporates a full-size indoor hockey court, change rooms, spectator’s ablutions, a wheelchair friendly ablution, grandstands (250 fixed seats), storage facilities, a catering station and additional parking bays, with plans to include one netball court and two cricket nets. Maggie Mengo, Namibian Ladies’ Captain, expressed in her jubilation after having won the Ladies’ Africa Indoor Cup on Sunday, “I wish I could copy and paste this venue from SA to Namibia.”

*Article written by Mr Dave Wiggett (High School Headmaster) and Mr Larry Riddle (Steering Committee Chairman).






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