Caitlyn Walsh

Perdeby interviewed leaders of TuksCheerleading, Unathi Jofile and Nkosingiphile Mncube, to get an understanding of TuksCheerleading and why they consider it to be an excellent sport to participate in.


What can TuksCheerleading offer those who are interested?
TuksCheerleading can offer [you] a sense of purpose, a healthy mind and body, as well as a chance to meet new people and make new friends.


How can you become a part of TuksCheerleading?
To be a part of TuksCheerleading, you would have to attend the try-outs which are usually at the beginning of each semester. The dates are published on the TuksCheerleading webpage and there are also posters around campus to inform people of the try-out dates. Alterna­tively, [you] could contact either myself or the captain, Unathi Jofile.


What does TuksCheerleading entail?
TuksCheerleading is focused not only on the team, but also on the individual. We believe that if one falls, the rest of the team follows, and if one rises, the rest of the team follows suit. With this, we focus on building each athlete up in whatever way possible. When an athlete either wants to learn a skill or is struggling with one, we put our heads together to think of a solution to help better that athlete and keep encouraging them. When that athlete finally learns that skill, we celebrate as a team.

With that being said, when we need to get things done, we work as a team and we work hard at whatever it is that we need to accomplish. We encourage each athlete to realise their potential, and in so doing, we further the potential and success of the team. We are one team, but a team made up of individuals who have individual strengths and weaknesses, and we use this knowledge and fact to build up the team.


Can TuksCheerleading benefit [you] physically (and in terms of health), and if so, how?
TuksCheerleading, as with any other physical sport, has many physical benefits. In addition to building a strong body, exercise can also play a vital part in [your] mental and psycho­logical abilities. I speak from personal experi­ence when I say that exercise can help [you] to focus and to regulate [your] mood, especially as a student [when you have] such mentally and psychologically demanding schedules. As the Latin phrase goes, “mens sana in corpore sano”, which translates to, “a healthy mind in a healthy body”.


What is focused on in training sessions?
Our training sessions are very well-rounded. We do skills training, which is just learn­ing, teaching and improving our stunts and stunt building. We also workout, and that is basically just developing, strengthening and training our bodies for the stunts. Also, a very “cool” ele­ment that [is] unique to TuksCheerleading, [is that we as a] tertiary cheerleadingdance too!


Who does the TuksCheerleading squad cheer for?
The TuksCheerleading Team is a performance and competitive team. We perform at Varsity Sports and Varsity Cup games, and at rugby, soccer and netball games. We also compete at provincial and national competitions such as the Gauteng Provincial Majorette Association and the South African Majorette and Cheer­leading Association.


Cheerleading was only announced by the Olympics commit to be a sport in 2016, why would you consider TuksCheerleading to be a sport?
Sport is defined as an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature. TuksCheerlead­ing ticks all those boxes. TuksCheerleading requires [you] to do lifting, tumbling, dancing [and] jumping, which are all physical activi­ties. These activities also all require skill and prowess, as cheerleading is the most danger­ous sport. TuksCheerleading partakes in com­petitions too, therefore, [you] should consider cheerleading to be an official sport [as] it meets all the requirements.


Is TuksCheerleading a rewarding experi­ence?

TuksCheerleading is a very rewarding experience. Often, before we can get a stunt right, we fail a lot but the reward is the fact that you eventually get it right and you feel proud of yourself. It is also getting to be the “brand ambassadors” of such a prestigious in­stitution, University of Pretoria, while having fun, being in decent shape and making a lot of friends from all walks of life.


Image: Elmarie Kruger

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