By DENZEL NYATHI
Celebrations and ululation were the order of the day last Friday, 5 August, as Rhodes University Sports Administration cut the purple ribbon to officially re-open the swimming pool outside Bantu Steve Biko Union Building. As the late winter sun shone against the clear blue waters and the purple and white balloons lining the poolside, there was much cause for cheer.
Sports Administration manager Frans Mamabolo said the long-awaited revamp had been slowed by drought and funding constraints. The project had to wait until drought conditions improved, Mamabolo said, as the pool contains a million litres of water.
The pool renovation started before the April 2022 graduation, and the pool was opened earlier than anticipated because of appetite from Rhodes University sports clubs and students. “The pool was set to be opened in September 2022, just in time for the warmer days of spring. However, when we saw the interest of our students, the project was accelerated to allow the athletes to start practising as soon as possible,” Mamalambo said.
Water Polo Club chairperson Abigail van der Howen was excited that the pool was finally opened after having to arrange the usage of pools in nearby schools. “The opening of the pool makes for easier and hustle-free practice; we will be able to prepare for next year’s University Sports South Africa Games,” she said.
Rhodes Sports Council chairperson and Director in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Susan Smailes, said: “I know that our students are saying there aren’t places for recreation. But, this is an absolutely beautiful place in the heart of our university for students to chill and have fun. It’s also amazing for our sports clubs and Learn to Swim programmes, which are very important.”
Each Rhodes sporting club has a mandatory community engagement programme. For aquatic sports, the Learn to Swin programme allows the athletes to give back by teaching others who would like to learn how to swim.
Source: Rhodes University Communications