South Africa is divided into nine provinces. ScrabbleSA has two affiliates in Gauteng (Johannesburg) and wpscrabble (Cape Town). Scrabble is served by Gauteng in the northern half of the country and Cape Town serves the south.
Cape Town is the capital city of Western Cape Province: the wp, in wpscrabble, stands for Western Province. wpscrabble has gone through a few name changes over the years, but it was founded in June 1987 by Anita Kassel. Gwen Heiman founded Gauteng a year earlier.
Anita had formed the first scrabble club in Cape Town in 1981, Thornton Scrabble Club, which is still in existence today. She was an Olympic torch bearer in 2004 for the Beijing games when the torch passed through Cape Town. At age 87, she can still manage a game or two.
Currently there are four scrabble clubs in Cape Town, and we are on the cusp of forming four new clubs within the next two months. The Transformation, Development and Coaching arms of wpscrabble are currently driving campaigns across the Cape environs to boost competitive scrabble playing numbers. The Cape Town Games 2017 was one of these initiatives.
The Cape Town Games is basically a community based sports day organised by The City of Cape Town annually. This was the 5th annual games. All over Cape Town communities are recreational hubs where children can go to after school and partake in games. Apart from scrabble, the other games are, 4 a side football, 30 seconds, chess, dibeke, dominoes, draughts, drie stokkies (a variation of hopscotch), kerem (like snooker but with round solid flat circular pieces on a square board), netball, morabaraba (a combination of draughts and OXO), pool and table tennis.
The Scrabble part of this event was opened by JP Smith (pictured left), member of the Mayoral Committee of Cape Town for Safety and Security; the tournament was opened by him playing bananagrams with the children.
The City is divided into four districts especially for these games. The recreation hubs falls into one of the districts. The four districts compete at The Cape Town games. The games are for children who do not play sport at school, between the ages of 11-18 and is also based on mass participation. Ten thousand plus children partake to eventually represent their districts, one boy and one girl at U14 level, and likewise at U18 level.
Carol Parker, Ralph Sultanie and Duncan Keet are the development coaches in wpscrabble. The Scrabble at the Games also featured prominently in local media.
It is the plan of wpscrabble to coach and certificate adult leaders at these recreational hubs as scrabble coaches. This we believe will improve the level of Scrabble played at the Cape Town Games. We also aim to have two workshops with the sixteen scrabble participants who played scrabble at the games.