It’s all about the youth

No stone is left unturned by sponsors, donors and hosts to keep the cost of participating and enjoying the annual Mitchell’s Plain Schools Marching and Drilling Competition free for contestants and spectators.

The 10th annual Mitchell’s Plain Marching and Drilling Competition takes place this Saturday October 14 at the Stephen Reagon Oval in Westridge from 8am. Entry is free for spectators.

Kader Miller, chief executive officer of Midea Events, who has supported and marketed the event since it started in 2007, said the competition is about the youth – the children who could be our future presidents or ministers of sport.

Mr Miller enlisted the services of his buddy Yusuf Davids, chief executive officer of Xtreme Holdings, who is sponsoring 15 portable toilets (paraplegic, seven female and male toilets) at a cost of R10 180.

Mr Davids said the competition is a highlight for Mitchell’s Plain.

“A lot of talent is exposed and everyone wants to win the competition,” he said.

He said the squads put in several hours’ training to perfect their presentation, and the event had to be a success. Mr Davids said he is amazed at the potential shown at the competition.

“Each participant is in sync with the beat of the drum and they have to listen to their drum majors,” he said.

Judging is done by officers from the South African National Defence Force and competition finalists will receive certificates, trophies and participate in other events, including the New Year’s Eve Malay Choir parade in the city centre.

“We want the children to know that drilling does not just stop with the competition. We need to keep them motivated,” said Mr Miller.

This year finalists will be also strutting their stuff at the 2017 DStv Mitchell’s Plain Festival, held at Westridge Gardens from Friday December 1 until Sunday December 3. The Plainsman is a media partner for both the festival and the marching and drilling competition.

Rozario Brown, founder and director of the DStv Mitchell’s Plain Festival, said: “We believe that the work being done by Kader Miller and SAPS, in terms of this drilling competition, aligns with our core objectives – of getting young people off the streets and into activities which take the focus away from gangs, drugs and other social issues our people face.”

Eddie Andrews, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for area south and councillor for Ward 78 (Westridge, parts of Westgate, parts of Portland, parts of Rocklands), confirmed that the City of Cape Town had waived the cost of the venue and his office had offered a letter of support for the event.

He said it was important to support community events and to showcase healthy competition among schools in the area.

“I know that many hours of hard work and preparation has gone into every team’s preparation for the big event,” he said.

“I’m excited to be a part of it and would like all of Mitchell’s Plain to come out and support our schools,” said Mr Andrews.

He acknowledged SAPS for the initiative and for using marching as a vehicle to impact the lives of young people and in turn their families and the community.

Mr Andrews said the competition, which has been in existence for 10 years, is testimony that local police are investing in positive crime- fighting strategies.

“As the City we are a proud supporter of this event. All spheres of government have a role to play to contribute toward building communities that are safe and that we can be proud of.”