A message from Andy Cunagin, Ubuntu Football Academy Advisory Board Chairman

Dear friends of Ubuntu,

It’s my pleasure to reach out to you as the new head of the Advisory Board for the Ubuntu Football Academy of Cape Town, South Africa.  60% of South African children are growing up without a father in the household.  Ubuntu is tackling this statistic one young man at a time through its unique, holistic approach to mentorship.Please check out www.ubuntufootball.com for an introductory video.

My relationship with Ubuntu began in a very personal way.  My son Jack, then 10, began a soccer training program with one of the Ubuntu coaches in 2013 while we were living in Cape Town.  Soon after, my wife Betsy and I noticed peculiar changes in Jack.  First, the Bible that had been sitting idly on his bookshelf made a mysterious migration to his bedside table.  Next, yellow sticky notes began appearing between the pages, and highlights appeared on the text.  His maturity and schoolwork improved, and his skill on the soccer field began to grow by leaps and bounds.  When Jack was invited to Ubuntu Academy trials, we came to learn that our son wasn’t the only boy in South Africa to experience this powerful transformation through mentorship.

There are three excitingdevelopments at Ubuntu I’d like to share with you. 

First, Ubuntu continues to establish itself as a powerhouse among elite development academies in Africa.  Its teams rank ator near the top of Super League competition across all age groups, and its players are being promoted up the ranks of national and regional select teams, while gaining the attention of professional clubs across Africa, Europe, and U.S.A.With the backing of some strategic partners, the Ubuntu Football Trust has recently acquired a National First Division franchise and are competing at the professional level this season as Ubuntu Cape Town FC. 

Second, the Ubuntu Football Academy School opened its doors in January.  The school is currently serving 34boys and is off to an amazing start.  But there’s so much hard work ahead.  The goal is to build onthe educational offeringas a platform forentry into top NCAA recruiting networks.

Third, we are honored to welcome NFL superstarand San Francisco 49er Eric Reid to the Ubuntu Advisory Board. You can read about Ubuntu’s “NFL connection” on News section of the website.  We are so grateful for Eric’s support and leadership.

Ubuntu’s mustard seed-like qualities became clear to me when it came time for us to pay Jack’s Ubuntu Academy fees.  The annual cost came to around R350 South African Rand—the equivalent of around US $27. [For reference, comparable USA soccer academies cost thousands of dollars!]  It was heartbreaking to see that many of the boys couldn’t afford even this small amount.  The need for mentorship in South Africa is overwhelming.  And with the help of partners like Eric, Ubuntu is tackling this need with the fierceness of a Pro-Bowl safety!

Ubuntu has come so far.  But as our footprint has grown, so too have the financial realities.  They are stark. Ubuntu needs funding partners to honor its mission to mentor the next generation of great African leaders.  Please consider partnering with us bydonating on our website at ubuntufootball.com. Your donation will go towards making sure that the boys have the education, mentorship, soccer training and loving environment that they need to fulfill their full potential.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly if you’d like to learn more about this amazing outreach.

EnkosiKakhulu!

Sincerely,

Andy Cunagin

Chairman

Ubuntu Football Academy Advisory Board

Email:  acunagin@rinehartcap.com

Phone: USA +1 828 855 6192

Skype:  andy.cunagin

Meet Enrique Jacobs!

Enrique is in grade 8 at the Ubuntu Academy School, and he has been a part of Ubuntu Football Academy for three years now. His favourite subject is maths, and his favourite part of the Ubuntu School is interacting with the teachers. “I learned that the teachers care more, and they want to help us succeed,” he said of the new Ubuntu Academy school, which opened in January this year.

Enrique plays striker for the under 14 team, and his favourite football club is Manchester United. In 10 years, he hopes to be on the professional field in Europe, but his dream job is to become an entrepreneur in the business world. "I want to be a businessman," he boasted. "One day I want to own my own company." Ubuntu's goal is for each of their boys to utilize his platform, no matter what shape that takes as they grow and develop as leaders.

As far now, Enrique wants to pass all of his subjects with high marks and continue developing as a student and a footballer. Within the Ubuntu School, there is a badge system based on football, academics and character and leadership. Earlier this year, Enrique earned marks in all categories that moved him from bronze to silver, awarding him new boots. "That's my best memory from this year so far," Enrique says of his well deserved reward.

Through longterm investment and mentorship in boys like Enrique, Ubuntu is developing the next generation of great leaders in South Africa.

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The Ripple Effect

ho·lis·tic- characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable, only by reference to the WHOLE. At Ubuntu, we are striving for just this. Through long term investment, we want to pour into our boys at an early age to raise up the next generation of great South African leaders. From there, our hope is that our boys will pour back into the communities where they came from, breaking the cycle of a lack of role models and father figures. It's a ripple effect from there, communities to cities to the country of South Africa as a whole. 

Share this post to continue our ripple effect! #MeettheSolution

Meet the Solution

TODAY IS THE DAY! We are launching our awareness campaign, and we're pretty excited. In South Africa, 60% of children are growing up without a father in their home. We believe our boys are growing up to be the leaders and role models that will change this statistic. Follow us to learn more about how you can be a part of the revolutionary change in South Africa #MeettheSolution

 

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Ubuntu's NFL Adventure

Out of the blue, Ubuntu Football has developed a very significant friendship with NFL star Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers. This all started when our Partner Relationship Manager Shawn Buck, struck up a friendship with a retired American couple, now living in Simonstown, who turned out to be Eric’s in-laws.  Eric and his family recently visited Cape Town, and were introduced to Shawn, who spent a week showing Eric around our school, house and football program. 

Unbeknown to us, Eric had been visiting Cape Town for the past three years, feeling called to get involved with something meaningful in the very communities that most of his wife’s family still live in.  He later shared with us that as he spent time with our staff and children, he had a distinct sense of recognizing what he had been looking for, and in the last few weeks, he has become a very significant and strategic supporter of our work. 

Over the week that Eric was with us, he first replaced the TV that had been stolen from our Academy House, and purchased 5 laptop computers for the school.  He then stunned us with the gift of an almost-new 19-seater minivan, before contributing extremely generously to the expansion of our Academy residence, which will be completed in the next few months.

Even more significantly, Eric has asked how he can help in a more strategic and long-term capacity.  As a starting point, he has arranged a presentation to his 49ers teammates in May, which Shawn Buck and Michael Jenkins will fly out for.  Linked to this, we have managed to partner with the San Jose Earthquakes (San Francisco’s professional MLS soccer team) for a charity youth clinic, with the proceeds being donated to Ubuntu, and with Eric and one of the Earthquakes star players present as celebrity guests.  

The Ubuntu Football Academy School is Open!

First off, we want to thank everyone again for your donations to our School Store campaign. Your donations have helped make our beautiful new school into the amazing place of learning that it is going to be.
As the boys entered this morning in their uniforms for the first day of school, you could just sense this excitement and wonder what what this year is going to be like. We had a day of orientation so that they could all get to know their teachers and learn how everything will work. We even took a couple class pictures, as featured above.
These 30 kids are going to have an amazing year ahead of them and part of that is because of you. Thank you again!