The GBT has been founded on the 15. 09. 1997 by Undine Rauter, Physiotherapist, and Tebogo Gaanakgomo, a paraplegic young man, who was admitted in Gelukspan District Hospital for quite a time to treat his pressure sores.
There was nothing at all to start a team, only the people: scholars from the nearby school for physically disabled (Tlamelang School) and physically disabled adults living in Gelukspan. The GBT started on a cement netball court with normal old wheelchairs in poor condition. Through the first funding received 1998 from poverty alleviation funds the first set of wheelchairs was bought. ( The team still plays with a number of these first chairs after 12 ½ years!). The GBT is a small club, which is running as a project with independent funding, not receiving funds from government departments. However, it enjoys the support especially of the Department of Health through the involvement of the Chief Physiotherapist of Gelukspan District Hospital to assist with management and guidance, as a disability empowerment program of her section. The team is run by a committee of disabled team members, who through the cooperation with the Physiotherapist gain experience, knowledge and skills in leadership and training related matters. The team presently consists of 2 branches, the North West Gelukspan based players and the Gauteng based players.
The Hospital and Regional Management supports the program with transpport, however it is not financing them. We receive water, electricity and partial phone access for free.
Beneficiaries of the project are mainly young persons with physical disability, learners of the “Tlamelang School for the Physically Disabled”, but more and more youth with disability who grew out of it. Further 5 young adults from Gauteng have joined the club, in order to develop their potential and be afforded opportunities for active participation and responsibility within the team. The team is regarded as community sports club. Further members of the local community benefit from the project through awareness and integrative activities. Role modeling and joint activities aim foremost at youth empowerment.
Most of the time and service in the leadership is voluntary. Previously our maintenance assistant received a small stipend for his work, but presently no funds are available for that.
Through liaison and registration with the NW Association for Sports for the Physically Disabled ( NWASPD) the GBT was integrated into the NW league and later affiliated to Wheelchair Basketball South Africa ( WBSA) through participating in the Central Conference league ( comprising of 4 provinces of South Africa) with increasing success and performance.
Throughout the years a number of achievements were reached ( see p.4-6), despite extreme difficulties under which the Team is living as placed in a rural area with all the associated problems as lack of resources etc. They are listed below. Finance – the lack of regular funds in general- are a continuous constraint.
However, through the passion, the volunteering of our coaches and efforts of the facilitator to raise funds the team is surviving and progressing until today. Two youth awards and individual donations as well as selected project funding help the team to sustain and expand its activities. “TUSK Mmabatho” has since covered transport costs to tournaments for the team in 2007 and 2008, while Department of Health provided most of the transport in 2009, which enabled the team to participate in the leagues, which is much appreciated.
Presently the biggest needs are equipment, training, to build a toilet/ change room facility and to obtain own team transport.