By Louise Brown
During my recent visit to Cape Town, I had the pleasure of meeting with Thalia Hock from the General Botha ‘Old Boys’ Fund. Thalia provided me with a comprehensive overview of the fund’s operations and its mission to preserve the culture and legacy of the General Botha training ship and nautical college, which holds a significant place in South African maritime history.
Initiated by Phil Wade in 2011, an old Whitbread Around The World racing pal of Tracy’s, the fund was established after four ‘old boys’ reunion groups visited Lawhill and were impressed by the school’s similarities to the General Botha. The fund’s primary objective is to encourage young South Africans to pursue maritime careers by providing bursaries, maintaining a memorial, and supporting national training initiatives.
Thalia’s insight shed light on the remarkable work that the fund does in supporting disadvantaged students. The fund ensures that beneficiaries have access to all the necessary resources and support required to thrive academically. This includes purchasing uniforms and clothes, providing guidance on filling out application forms, arranging transportation, and providing mentorship throughout their attendance and beyond.
It is important to note that the General Botha ‘Old Boys’ Fund goes above and beyond traditional bursary programs by providing an extended family-like support system. The fund is committed to empowering its beneficiaries and providing them with the necessary tools and guidance to achieve success in their academic and professional endeavors.