1. Zola, before you joined Maritzburg College, where were you based and what did you do for a living?
Before joining Maritzburg College I was based in Durban since 2002. Here I studied at DUT and 2006 I got my first job at a boy’s primary school called Durban Preparatory High School where I worked for twelve years in the sport and physical education department. I coached boys cricket, rugby and hockey. The boys ranged from grade one to grade seven and did PE lessons during the school day. I was also a mentor for the previously disadvantaged learner programme where I identified sport talented boys from local townships and the school offered them opportunities to change their lives.
2. What brought you into the recruitment game?
I think it’s mostly from me being a primary schoolboy coach that gave me the exposure to talent at a young age. This allowed me to see talent from across the country and network with other coaches from other provinces. High schools then began asking me to help them with information on any talented up and coming youngsters.
3. Are you enjoying the competitiveness of recruitment?
It has been a wakeup call I must admit. It has become too competitive. I plan to work together with other recruiters from other schools to try and calm things down. So to answer your question, NO I am not enjoying the competitiveness.
4. In your eyes, what sets Maritzburg College apart from all other schools?
As a government school I believe College teaches boys the real world life after school. Our boys come out well-mannered young gentlemen who respect elders and women. A College boy must greet and say please and thank you!
5. How does one keep things fresh with the approach to recruitment?
It’s all about getting fresh ideas that have not been tried by other schools. Start or try something new that sells your school or facilities. Expose families and boys to what the school has to offer and not expect them to know your school because of its “history” so go out there and preach about your product.
6. Maritzburg College produces international sportsmen constantly. What drives the boys to get onto the international stage?
I think it’s a culture of hard work and dreaming big. There is something for every boy at College. We have about 21 different sports offered for boys to choose from and in those sports the boys compete to be the best. This prepares them to compete against the world. You walk around the school and see signed jerseys of old boys like Joel Stransky framed on the walls, I believe that creates that dream of saying I want to have my name on these walls.
7. Could you shed light on a couple of College’s recent sporting achievements?
I recently attended KZN Sports Awards where our squash team was nominated for school team of the year for recently winning the KZN Top School’s championships for the first time in 25 years. One of our pupils David Evans was also nominated in the junior sportsman of the year category. Another pupil Owen Higgins will be representing South Africa at the world biathlete championships in Florida,USA. Our first team cricket side recently won the UKZN Quadrangular T20 beating Hilton College in the final. These are just the few of many sporting achievements by our boys.
8. You had interaction with Shana Devitt from Pegasus Publishing recently (profile photo). Just how good and important are the programmes for the sports fixtures!?
Shana does an amazing job for all of us. She makes my life easier as I am informed well in advance for where to go for my recruitment trips with fixtures. These programmes are a “must have” for any rugby playing school. I am really thankful of her and for all the great work she does.
9. Are you excited about 2020’s prospects?
We look forward to 2020 to try achieve better than 2019. Our 2020 intake has been good with boys coming from through KZN and outside the province to start their journey as College men. We have a few scores to settle in 2020 with results that did not go our way this year and we look to improve. I won’t say much I’ll let results speak for themselves.