We Are Young Bafana: Rain Clouds Gather

Thando Jacobs

We are Young Bafana

Chapter 16

Rain Clouds Gather

Sihle sat forlornly on his bed, staring out the window. The clouds have opened up and the rain was pouring down, soaking into the parched land of Lwandle. It had been a long, hot summer and the drought had affected so many in the township. The problem of water restrictions was not the main obstacle for many. In fact, many residents did not have access to direct water in their homes. They were used to fetching their water from the communal tap. And to make do with very little water in their daily lives.

Unemployment had become a serious side effect of the drought. Sihle’s father, who worked on a local wine farm had lost his job. There were many people who had been retrenched due to the economic fallout from the drought. It was heartbreaking to see so many men, idly sitting in the sun, waiting for the rain to come and not only rehydrate the land, but the people too.


Last years U18 defensive boss doing his thing for @sheridanmenssoccer in the USA. First season and not only did they reach the final. @keinodavids was selected to represent the 2018 Region lX Mens Soccer All Tournament Team⚽️💪. Unbelievably proud of this young man who is a great example to all the youngsters out there. This is how to combine education & sport. When Keino returns he will have a tertiary education degree obtained in the USA and if his hard work pays off, we might see him in the PSL or beyond😎. #WeAreYoungBafana #ChangingLives #football #soccer #proud #humble #workhard #dedication #power #sport #education #travel #wanderlust #usa #southafrica

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Sihle’s family was fortunate in that his mother was still employed. Though the family was feeling the loss of income, they were at least able to cover the basic needs of the family. And of course, it helped that Sihle was attending school on a scholarship. It made it even more important that Sihle makes a success of his studies. Who knew if the funds would be available from his family’s income to cover his education as well? No one could say when the drought would end and those who had lost their jobs would be employed once again.

So many residents had also succumbed to illness due to the drought. The dusty ground was causing all sorts of pulmonary ailments which meant that unfortunately, people were having to miss work and suffer the consequences thereof. And with little ground cover growing, the problem seemed to get worse every day.

Sihle knew that he should be glad of the rain. He knew he should be rejoicing, as many in his community were. The rain falling was a sign that things were improving. With every drop, the Western Cape moved away from day zero. They moved back towards a fertility, not only in the ground and flora around them but also in the rejuvenation of people’s lives. Men and women could return to work and the many suffering from illness would be brought back to health.


However, Sihle, being a young boy in the township, did not look at the bigger picture. Yes, he would be relieved once his father returned to work. But at the moment, all he could think of was that he would not be able to go to soccer practice in this rain. The soccer pitch they played on was also desperate for rain. And because it was so parched, Young Bafana Soccer Academy was extremely cautious about damaging the fields.

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Soccer was a way for Sihle to stay busy in the afternoons. He didn’t want to hang out in the streets with the other kids. There were too many temptations to head down the wrong path. Sihle knew that sport and education were crucial to him developing into the person he aimed to be. And now that he had a day where he was unable to attend English classes and practice, he truly felt how important these afternoons were for him.

Sihle knew that tomorrow he would be able to play soccer again. He was happy knowing that even though today he must stay home, tomorrow would bring a fresh day with new possibilities. And he also knew that with the rain came refreshment for his community. Something which was so needed after the long hard drought.

We are Young Bafana is a collaborative project between Goal.com and the Young Bafana Soccer Academy. This is a fictional story loosely based on real-life events and experiences of the community of Lwandle, a township in the Somerset West area in the Western Cape.