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October 10th, 2005

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Update on Aketa-sensei

Chris Visser, who is hosting Aketa-sensei in Joburg, sent the following e-mail to the SAGA list this morning. It seems like the Western Cape is going to have to shape up if we wish to snatch Aketa-sensei from those grubby Gautenger hands!

Aketa – medium and longer-term plans

Thank you so much to all the Gauteng members who have treated Aketa, our sensei, like royalty. I think
letting him smoke in the lecture room on Saturday was the epitome of hospitality. In particular, thanks
to Tristen for taking responsibility for his agenda and itinerary.

I have attached a picture of Aketa with Paul Edwards, taken on the morning of Aketa’s arrival in Johannesburg.

I initially invited Mr Aketa to visit South Africa for three weeks. I undertook to sponsor his visit. I made it a three-week invitation for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted him to see and get a feel for South Africa, before he committed himself to a longer stay. Not everyone likes South Africa, and we have unique situations with which not all foreigners are comfortable. Secondly, I wanted to limit my funding costs. I wanted to give him and the South African go-playing community the chance to get to know one another, so that a longer-term arrangement could be reached.

It has emerged that the main problem in Johannesburg is that we have no “Go Centre”. Also, as we know, if you don’t drive a car and you’re not prepared to risk being mugged on foot, then you stay at home. Aketa-sensei has a driving licence, but is reluctant to drive. Today, I’ve persuaded him to try driving one of my cars – we’ll see how that goes.

Despite the problems, Aketa made it clear after a few days here, that he had no plan to leave after three weeks. Well done, Gautengers.

Aketa has an entry permit to South Africa which allows him to stay for 90 days. He has already made a plan to visit Victoria Falls around New Year, so that he can exit to Zimbabwe and return with a fresh 90 days.

“I want to teach black players and I want to teach female players.” Sounds like the perfect “politically correct” script for South Africa, doesn’t it? In Aketa’s case, it is his sincere wish. He believes that the best way to promote Go in South Africa is to broaden the base of players to include more blacks and more women. I agree. He would like to have somewhere to stay, within walking distance of a “Go Centre” which is open every day, where he can teach. He has expressed the aim to raise the standard of Go amongst female players to the level where South Africa can participate in the annual World Amateur Pair Go Championships. He reckons he can do that by next year, provided he gets some female students, even if they are beginners.

Think about it. South Africa participates in another annual international sponsored tournament. Three, instead of one, South Africans go to Japan each year. What a huge win that would be! Think of the relief of anguish over the credit points system.

Mr Aketa doesn’t want to leave Johannesburg before he has met more of the black players we have boasted about. Therefore, let’s get a tournament or something organised in Soweto this coming Saturday, October 15. The next day, Sunday October 16, Aketa will fly to Cape Town. Thanks very much to Andrew Davies and Guillaume Binet who have agreed to look after him in Cape Town.

Here’s the deal with Aketa. He charges nothing to teach. He is available all day, every day, for teaching. He bought his own airticket from Japan, and he pays all his own living expenses, except for accommodation. I have picked up his accommodation tab in Johannesburg, and I’m buying his ticket to Cape Town and back. The Cape guys have kindly offered to accommodate him there. But after his initial stay in Johburg and his initial visit to the Cape, SAGA will have to decide whether we want him to stay longer. If so, SAGA must accommodate him or find a sponsor to pay for his accommodation.

I would imagine that funding could be available from Lotto. The Gauteng Canoe Union got something over half a million Rand per year from Lotto, to develop kayaking in “previously disadvantaged” communities.

I know it took a lot of work from Canoeing officials to get that grant. SAGA would be entirely sincere in applying for sponsorship to promote Go in the same communities.

There is also the possibility of funding from JICA, the Japanese organisation which sponsored Aketa in Mongolia. JICA have an office in Pretoria. I believe Tristen is involved in this application, and I suggest that our new president (sorry, but I don’t know yet who that is) should also get involved.

Clearly, we need a teacher in Gauteng as much as we need a teacher in the Cape. We can find a win-win
solution.

Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to the success of Aketa’s visit so far. Let’s make more good things happen.

Chris Visser

Posted by Steve in News

4 Comments »

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4 Responses to “Update on Aketa-sensei”

  1. tristen says:

    Grubby hands! I wash them of you 😉

  2. Rory says:

    Well it sounds like we should just be thankfull that he will visit us for a week becuase it doesnt sound to promising for anything other than that.

  3. Steve says:

    well – unlike Gauteng it definitely seems we in the Cape know how to resign 😛

  4. tristen says:

    No guys, we softened him up, you get to close the deal.

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