By Luvo Mnyobe, Master’s in journalism student
Rhodes University's Old Rhodian Golf Club hosted its first Old Rhodian Bursary Day since 2019, raising more than R80 000 recently. This event could not be held last year due to the national lockdown regulations. Lead organiser of the annual fundraiser and Rhodes University alumnus Terry Sutherland said he was proud of the contribution made by the Club. This year the Golf Day was held at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.
Sutherland has been active in the Rhodes University Golfing community for more than five decades, beginning in the 1970s. He explained that his father, Beau, also a Rhodes University alumnus, founded the Club in 1971. "It was my father who roped me in to assist in forming a Golf Club at the University, which he saw as an opportunity for Rhodes University to compete with other major sporting universities at the time such as Stellenbosch and Wits," said Sutherland.
Sutherland said the main objective was to create an opportunity to build a community of fellow Old Rhodians to network and contribute to the University in a meaningful way. He said that other universities have always had a thriving sporting culture, and he intended to build the same at Rhodes University. "I was appointed Captain of the Old Rhodian Club in 1987, and I have never looked back since; I have dedicated many years working to build the sports fraternity at Rhodes University,” he added.
He noticed that many Rhodes Alumni were placed in key business positions in various industries whenever they met for their golf days. This is owing to the enduring culture of excellence at the University throughout its history. "I realised that this is an opportunity for me to invite alumni to use their positions to plough back into a university that had contributed to their development," he said.
In 1993, Sutherland began organising the Old Rhodian Bursary Day, where he invites alumni for a game of golf to make Rhodes Sport more competitive. The Annual Golf Day raises funds for sports bursaries and has funded the tuition of many Rhodes Students since inception through "The Sutherland Old Rhodian Bursary". It has allowed generations of the University's most excellent sports stars to not worry about paying for education and focus on excelling in their academics and sports endeavours.
Sutherland said they only fund the most talented sportspeople who will be great ambassadors for Rhodes University. "We are serious about ensuring that we invest in only the best that talent that is available; on some years, we do not fund any students because we are serious about excellence," he explained.
Rhodes University's Sports Administration manager, Frans Mamabolo, praised the team for the excellent job in organising the fundraiser. "The event was very well organised, and we are so happy for the impact that the bursary has had in the lives of our star athletes on campus," said Mamabolo. Mamabolo emphasised the importance of the calibre of talent that they look into in choosing the bursary recipient. "They value the players who are flying the Rhodes Sport flag high; an example of this is the recipient of this year’s bursary who is representing the university as EP Rugby Captain," said Mamabolo.
The trust that funds the bursary also contributes to the maintenance of sports infrastructure at the University, like the installation of the Astroturf fields and a project they are currently working on is rebuilding the University's pool. "The fund has a current market value of just over R9 million, and we try to use it as best as we can to ensure that sports talent has the best resources to help them be the best, not just at the university but beyond that," said Sutherland.
Mamabolo said that the fund and the golf day has helped make Rhodes University a more competitive sporting university. "The bursary has made it possible for us to retain talented play and also build a culture of competitiveness amongst players as they would all like to get the bursary," he added.
Sports has been identified as one of the seven university priority projects, and this is a worthy initiative. We would like to appeal to all Old Rhodians to join hands with the University to grow the event in 2022 and beyond.Source: Communications