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Donation of minibus 'investment in the future of young people'
Author: Pia Nänny
Published: 01/03/2017

They have not only invested in a minibus – they've made an investment in the future of children in South Africa.

This is the opinion of two German parliamentarians who visited Stellenbosch University's Department of Sports Science on Monday to hand over the keys of a Quantum minibus.

The bus will mainly be used by honours students in the field of Kinderkinetics to travel to the communities they serve.

Ulla Schmidt, vice president of the German Bundestag (parliament), and Dagmar Freitag, chairperson of the sports committee in the German parliament, visited the Weber Gedenk Primary School in Jamestown together with Prof Elmarie Terblanche, former chairperson of the Department of Sports Science, Dr Heinrich Grobbelaar, present chairperson of the Department of Sports Science, and Dr Eileen Africa, coordinator of the Kinderkinetics honours programme.

Some of the honours students presented a class to the grade 3 learners of teacher Eustacia van Wyk, with a focus on the advancement of among other things hand-eye coordination and balance.

According to the headmaster, Mr Terence Moses, it is to the benefit of the school and learners that these students do their practical hours there.

The aim of Kinderkinetics is to enhance the development of gross motor skills in young children (0-13 years) through physical activity.

The Kinderkinetics programme is also involved with groups in Kylemore, Mitchell's Plain, Somerset-West, Bellville and at the Tygerberg Children's Hospital. They also offer sessions at various Virgin Active gymnasiums.

"We are very impressed with what we have seen today," said Freitag. She met Prof Terblanche a few years ago while she was visiting German athletes training at Coetzenburg.

"Germany's contribution is more than just a drop in the ocean, but it is small compared to your inputs and contributions. We are happy to support you."

Schmidt, a trained teacher, told the students and the department that they are doing fantastic work.

Dr Africa, who developed the Kinderkinetics honours programm at SU, is very passionate about child development and especially developmental milestones.

"Movement offers a firm basis for children for further development – not only physical but also cognitive and social development. Physical activity is also an important component of health in general. Children have to move as much as they can.

"Transport has been a big challenge for us thus far, but this bus enables us to reach the children with whom we work a lot easier."

The minibus (Jokl) have been named after Dr Ernst Franz Jokl, a German educator who founded the Department of Sport Science (then physical education) in 1936.