“Excerpt from the forthcoming Summerhill Sires brochure.
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On the face of it, an institution of the magnitude of our School of Management Excellence, is an outrageous extravagance for a Zulu farm. But it was born of a conviction that this country is home to some of the world’s best stockmen, that given the chance, this could be a game-changer. It has been. We were convinced, too, that our sport was lamentably under-served in its learning institutions, and that if this was the price of education in a game that had done us well, we were willing to pay it. Some may feel they have plenty to lose in defeat, but whatever Summerhill had, we we’re ready to give up for victory. Done properly, the dreams would accrue. They have.
Talent and intelligence are spread evenly across the planet; opportunity is not. This school was a chance for students to dream, and already we’ve seen some budding Moses Thembes, Patrice Motsepes, Gaynor Ruperts and Mary Slacks, who see the world not for what it is, but for what it can become.
Our students know that the world is already very different from the one they were born into, and that next year’s, no, next month’s world, will be different again. They know too, that the commercial world has become the preserve of “big business”, sometimes sleepy places dominated by actuaries and accountants nursing warm gins and tonic. To make it these days, you need to be smarter than your lunch, otherwise you are the lunch.
They’ve also learnt that there’s a great big world out there, brimming with opportunity, and that they shouldn’t let their schooling interfere too much with their education. Besides, they understand that there is a danger to victory. Being gracious in defeat, as in victory, is not a characteristic that defines the modern sports era. What happened to being a good sport?
Already you can see them listening for the hoofbeats, yet none of them is running with the herd. So you can be sure that when the historians of the twenty-first century call out the heroes of our game, there’ll be a good number of our “dreamers” among them.
Thabani Nzimande, first recipient of the Childwick Trust’s scholarship to the English National Stud, was “Top Practical Student” at the English National Stud in 2012.