Members of the small Roxeni community in South Africa can now play cricket thanks to the efforts of Murdoch University scientists and the West Australian cricket community.
Murdoch University Professor John Howieson and his research team have spent the past four years working with the Roxeni community attempting to introduce sustainable agriculture by planting legumes that increase soil nitrogen, an essential element for plant growth.
Avid cricketer Prof Howieson recently discovered the community’s love of the sport following a discussion with Mr Mlumbi, head of the Roxeni community and president of the local cricket council.
“We discovered a flat area in a paddock close to where we were planting legumes and we asked what it was used for. Mr Mlumbi told me the community loves to play cricket but they don’t have the gear,” Prof Howieson said.
Prof Howieson and his colleague Neil Ballard used their longstanding relationships with the West Australian cricket community – Prof Howieson has coached junior cricket and Mr Ballard is a life member of the Western Australian Country Cricket Association – to call for donations.
“We got half a container full of donations from all over the state,” Prof Howieson said.
The donations flooded in from the Western Australia Cricket Association, WA Football Commission, Wickepin Cricket Club, Great Boulder Cricket Club, Busselton Margaret River Cricket Association, Fortescue Cricket Association, Narrogin’s Towns Cricket Club and the Scarborough Junior Cricket Club.
Prof Howieson said the locals were making good use of a small batch of equipment that had already arrived and the rest was on its way. He said he was looking forward to playing a game when he arrives in Roxeni on November 20.
“We get to Roxeni and we tend to focus solely on the work but playing a game of cricket with the whole community helps bring us all together,” Prof Howieson said.