Moves for Life
By Dr. Kelvin Kemm
On 22 December the Moves for Life team held a chess tournament in the deep rural area of Nkandla of the province of Kwa Zulu-Natal in South Africa. This area is the home area of President Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa. President Zuma specifically invited the Moves For Life team to arrange the tournament in the area. This area of Nkandla is the legendary home area of the great historic king of the Zulu nation, King Shaka who ruled some 200 years ago. Today the area is still largely underdeveloped, and consists of beautiful rolling hills and deep valleys, which are beautiful, but in some cases, rather difficult to penetrate due to the steep terrain.
President Zuma is himself a chess player, and has taken a great interest in the Moves For Life project which aims to bring the game of chess to as many South African schools as possible with the objective of improving school performance amongst learners.
On 21 December the MFL team visited a school in a remote area to promote chess in preparation for the 2011 campaign in the area. There was great excitement at the school and MFL trainer and trustee Marisa van der Merwe coached teachers, while trustee IM Watu Kobese gave some children an enthusiastic introduction to chess. After the chess instruction the school Traditional Dance Group gave the MFL team a thankyou dance on the school football field.
The next day the Tournament took place some 75km away in Nkandla. Young and old alike flocked to the local Community Hall where President Zuma opened the proceedings and also mingled with the players. He played a couple of games with the young players, and then handed out the prizes. To round off the day a helicopter from the South African Air Force arrived to give the young chess players air flips over their valleys. None of the young players had ever left the ground before.
President Zuma also invited the MFL team to his country house the next day to discuss tactics for the way forward.
(Dr Kelvin Kemm is a Nuclear Physicist and a Trustee of the Moves For Life project)
I wish we have this kind of support from the U.S.