Tutu & PhindiI am sure Desmond Tutu needs no introduction – this post is about the girl standing next to him. And yes I know her. Personally.

The story starts back in early 2004 – I think – when Steve stumbled upon the OpenCafe just a few days after he arrived from Australia.

Steve came to South Africa to help out at the local Australian Football League. His plan was to set up a website for
the organization so that everyone in SA and Australia can follow the work Steve and his team was busy with. I never heard of the game of footy before – and I had no idea that I was soon to get to know footy players
and umpires that have been playing footy for quite a while here in South Africa.

So what is Footy?Footy actionAustralian Football, formally officially known as Australian Rules Football, is a fast paced and physically demanding game, with many skills transferable from other sports such as Soccer, Rugby and Basketball. Commonly, a player will need many components of fitness including strength, speed, endurance, agility and durability.There are some elements of the game that especially draws spectators from all
over the world. These are the spectacular goals from seemingly impossible situations, the precision with which players pass to team mates over long distances, fierce bumping and tackling, the long runs of an individual player when he decides to ‘do it himself’, and probably the most loved, the high mark (catch), when a player propels himself into the air and uses his opponent as a step ladder to catch the ball.(Click to read more…)

Steve workingSteve has become a regular at the cafe and we spent long hours gathering all info, text, photos and set up the site. He also did a lot of the admin – typed documents – sent e-mails and did all other admin that was necessary to manage things.However since the work was getting quite overwhelming to handle, and he couldn’t afford spending days and nights typing – he was thinking of finding someone that could help with taking care of the website and all other admin work while he is on the road managing workshops and footy clinics.One obvious candidate for the job was Phindi (then she was 17) – one of the young umpires from Ramatlabama who got involved with Australian Football in 2002 after it was introduced to her community by AFL development officer Dale Alsford, and she was one of the elected team to represent South Africa in Australia at the 2002 International Cup. She says – “It was a great experience although we lost because it was our first time.

One day Steve told me that he was thinking of arranging a trip for Phindi – to stay over for a few days in Potchefstroom. I offered that Phindi could stay with us for a few days – I could introduce her to the OpenCafe to make her stay more interesting. That was the first time I met her – she was excited to find out about the cafe and was quite interested in learning computer skills. She has a great personality, real easy-going, great sense of humour and is really open to learn new things, so she enjoyed her stay with us and we all had fun chatting to her about all sorts of things. A few days later Phindi went back home.
Later I heard that she completed a computer course and also that she
was to permenantly move to Potch from Ramatlabama.Phindi SFD

Once here she started working part-time for AFL South Africa and we designed a program for her for the afternoons which inlcuded learning computer skills and learning how to maintain the new footy site. Phindi kept to her program and learnt as many skills as she could about graphic & web design and website maintenance. In exchange for the skills she was always ready to help out – especially when we needed help with the students and our events. She became one of those very few
people that made the most of the facilities of the cafe and kept on with the programs and the training – no matter how hard it got sometimes with being alone in a new town with no close friends and family to support her.

These days Phindi is working full time for AFL as administrative assistant and she is also head of umpiring. She is managing the footy website, writes many of the stories for the site, takes care of all documentation, e-mails, and everything else that has something to do with the organization’s computers. She has travelled all around South Africa and – she has also been to Australia to study umpiring and is busy organizing a nationwide network for umpires in South Africa – and as you see she gets to meet & work with great people along the way.

Phindi – happy happy 21st!!! Many thanks for becoming one of the Linux chix:) You are not only an qualified umpire but also an OpenCafe graduate – and I hope that in the next 3 years you will achive many more of your dreams and get to meet and work with many more people like the Archbishop!