The Chevrolet UTE Force recently descended on Cowan High School in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, where, with the help of a fleet of the legendary all new Chevrolet Utility bakkies, they built a brand new cricket field in the school within five and a half days.
The UTE-Force is a new initiative from Chevrolet, and is made up of the country’s most varied and skilled experts, from carpenters and plumbers to electricians and industrial designers. These talented and dedicated individuals are all ready and waiting to take on various projects around South Africa, as they give back to the community with the help of Chevrolet.
In their first project the intrepid team tackled building Cowan High School a new cricket field, as well as a batting practice area.
Tim Hendon, Brand Manager for Chevrolet, said the aim of the UTE Force was to promote the Chevrolet Utility’s capabilities, while at the same time giving back to the people of South Africa.
“In coming up with the idea we wanted to show the capability of the vehicle, but we also looked to do it in a way that benefitted a community or benefitted South Africa in general,” he said.
Hendon said Cowan High School had been identified through Eastern Cape Cricket, due to their strong performance as a cricketing school, despite their lack of resources.
“We are leaving a sports field here. It will be fully functional. We are also training up local staff from the community to take care of the facility once we leave,” said Hendon.
Trevor Dolley, Cowan High School principal, said the school was established in 1946 and currently had over 1,300 learners, many of whom came from disadvantaged homes where parents were often unemployed and where children were raised on income from old age pensions and child care grants.
Despite the disadvantages, Dolley said New Brighton was also known for producing some of South Africa’s political, economic and sport greats. “We were actually brought on board due to our performance in terms of our cricketing abilities of our boys and our girls at school,” he said.
The school’s cricketing successes can be traced to Cowan’s dedicated cricketing coach, Moses Maleki, who has been at the school since 2007. When Maleki started coaching cricket at Cowan, there was no proper field, no facilities and a single bag of donated kit.
Fuelled by the love of the game, Maleki persevered, growing two strong boys’ teams and a girls’ team. Some of his boys have already been called up for EP trials.
Dave Emslie, CEO of Eastern Cape Cricket, who had identified Cowan High School as the beneficiary on behalf of Chevrolet, agreed.
“Cowan last year in the CSA pro 20 competition played in the regional final against Grey High School, and I was struck by the stark difference between what we have at Grey High School and what we have at Cowan High School,” he said.
Lonwabo “Lopsy” Tostsobe, well known South African and Chevrolet Warriors cricket player, grew up in New Brighton, said the area had a good sporting culture.
“I remember playing in the streets using bread crates as wickets. I think what Moses is doing here for children is more than just coaching cricket,” he said.
Maleki agreed, comparing his cricket field to a classroom. “Some people see Cricket as just a game. A field is a lot like a classroom. It shows the kids how to catch and how to swing and how to get back up when you get knocked down. It is those lessons that can take you anywhere,” Maleki said.