The first R100 000 that will go towards building a youth sports centre in Barrydale was raised by Conroy Williams at Barrydale Fight Night which took place at the Karoo Art Hotel this month.
This was a record breaking fund raising initiative and while most businesses donated their time and money with open hearts – we all knew that it was the main bout of the evening that convinced both sponsors and spectators to show their support.
“I’d like to thank each and every person who contributed to the success of this evening from the bottom of my heart,” said Williams.
He added that since this great evening he has been in talks with several businesses and individuals who share his dream of building a sports centre (or dojo) and that more formal plans will be drafted in the new year.
Sparks Fly as Mayor tackles Meyer
Swellendam Mayor Francois du Rand and his opponent, Meyer Joubert, went at it like Wild Dogs. They ended up breaking the boxing ring during their highly anticipated battle, although it must be said that both these men had already broken their backs prior to the event to ensure that everyone supported this noble cause.
While Du Rand drummed up support for the approval of plans to build the facility, Joubert sent out a call to arms to his fellow winemakers who responded by donating some of the finest wines in the region.
“There was a stage when Barrydale residents asked whether the Mayor needed a GPS to get to town and I think after this evening, they need no further proof that Swellendam Municipality is fully committed to the wellbeing of this community,” said Du Rand.
“We understand that there are challenges, but never should there be any doubt in our commitment to deliver what the people need.”
Du Rand lauded Williams for the work he has done in the community (both as a policeman and a boxing coach) and thanked the municipal manager Anneleen Vorster for her attendance on the night.
Celebrity adds sparkle
The wines and other exquisite items like a Metanoia Gin and Brandy hamper, were auctioned by celebrity ringmaster/MC Melt Sieberhagen.
While the fights were entertaining, the television star’s performance was described as brilliant.
And what very few of the locals realise is that Sieberhagen is a staunch News62 contributor who has, since the company’s inception in 2020, often helped out as a voice over artist and proof reader.
As for the main fight, these men packed a few solid punches and then, perhaps after watching too much WWE wrestling, body slams and take downs became the norm.
In many ways the hole in the ring which resembled a Barrydale pothole was a blessing in disguise as it forced the officials from the Western Cape Boxing Federation to end the fight in the first round.
Family of fighters
Another interesting aspect of the evening involved Gillian Parenzee who watched in agony as two of her sons and her boyfriend braved the heat of the ring in three consecutive bouts.
The poor woman’s heart! We do, however, know today that she is perhaps the best protected lady in all of Barrydale as all three these men showed grit that simply cannot be bought.
Artist enters the ring
Like Williams, artist Donovan Julius of Suurbraak is one of the younger men in this region who not only inspires through his work, but by the time and effort he puts in to ensure that his community is taken care of.
Unlike some of the softies who promised to participate before withdrawing at the last minute, Julius and his art manager Duran Hendricks went the full three rounds in what was later dubbed ‘the battle of low blows’.
Julius and Williams are role models in their respective communities and one can only imagine what they will still achieve – especially now that they have combined forces.
Backed by the best
This remarkable feat by Williams and his team achieved would not have been possible had it not been for the overwhelming support they had received from local businesses.
That, together with the willingness of some of the community leaders who put their bodies and reputations on the line, highlighted that there is a real movement to further improve the lives of everyone who lives in this region – regardless of race, creed or political affiliation.
*A special word of thanks goes out to musician Janes Blomerus who at the last minute provided his sound system and services as DJ for the event.