Community authored books made available to the public

The Dithakga tša Gobala project (2017), proudly sponsored by Vodacom, The Vodacom Blue Bulls, Puma, AFGRI and The Funanani Trust, today launched six wordless picturebooks which have been made available to the public, free of charge.

Wordless picturebooks are a genre of books that allow readers to use illustrations to create a story in a language of their choice. The genre allows for multiple stories can be sourced from each book, and the books are especially relevant for preschool children, who have yet to learn to decode print. In this way, the project hopes to foster a love of books, reading and storytelling regardless of literacy levels, language preference and age. Stories were sourced from parents and children in the Mamelodi community in Pretoria, and illustrated by South African illustrators and students. By sourcing stories from local communities, the project hopes to give parents and children a sense of ownership of the stories and books.

The project also wishes to make books available in South African homes. Books are an expensive luxury for many South Africans, yet, the importance of early childhood reading cannot be overstated. For this reason, the project has made both the print files, and an eBook version of each book available for download. A number of copies of the books will also be circulated to reading organisations and schools.

Shanil Mangaroo, Head of Marketing at the Vodacom Blue Bulls, expressed his sentiments on behalf of the team: “This is an amazing project, and is really close to our hearts. We believe it will create a perfect launch platform for those ‘little-ones’ starting to read, as well as give parents, that are unable to read, an opportunity to still bond with their kids over a book. We’re really looking forward to sitting down and listening to some of the stories, and enjoying the creative imaginations that this project will stimulate.”

Michelle van Eyden, Executive Head of Sponsorships at Vodacom said, “As proud sponsors of the Vodacom Blue Bulls Vodacom is very proud to be associated with the Dithakga tša Gobala project.  Vodacom is passionate about supporting education in our country and we believe that in supporting this initiative through our sponsorship of the Blue Bulls, we can make a difference in the lives of young South Africans and their families.

The art of storytelling plays a major role in African culture and we are excited to have had the opportunity to hear some of these tales today.  It is extremely rewarding to know that we had a hand in bringing this initiative to life.

The books are available for download, free of charge, at

Blue Bulls Company announce next step in turnaround strategy

The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed on Sunday evening that Vodacom Blue Bulls Head Coach Nollis Marais has been granted leave for the remainder of the 2017 season.

Barend van Graan, CEO of the BBCo, explained that this action is merely the next step in the turnaround strategy. This follows the continued unfolding of a turnaround strategy that the BBCo announced earlier this year: “We are working hard to ensure the sustainable and long-term success of the Vodacom Bulls and Blue Bulls, as we continue striving towards achieving success and restoring trust and faith in our brand.”


The BBCo confirmed the following management teams for the remainder of the 2017 season:


  • Head Coach, Attack, Exits: John Mitchell
  • Skills and Kicking: Hayden Groepes
  • Lineouts: Pote Human
  • Scrums: Gary Botha
  • Defense (All teams, junior and senior): Pine Pienaar
  • Strength and Conditioning: Jacus Coetzee (Head Weekly Tactical Periodisation (WTP) and Rehab), Ghafoer Luckan (Senior Strength and Conditioning assistant)


  • Head Coach: David Manuel
  • Backline Coach: Bevin Fortuin
  • Forward Coach: Anton Leonard
  • Strength and Conditioning: Shaun du Toit


  • Head Coach and Backline: Dewey Swartbooi
  • Forward Coach: Denzil Frans
  • Strength and Conditioning: Henri-Charl Terblanche, Yusuf Vahed (Junior Strength and Conditioning assistant)


  • Junior teams kicking, all teams’ PR and Administration: Divan Strydom


NOTE: The status quo for all other members of the High-Performance Department, not referred to above, remains the same.

Van Graan also added: “I believe this step furthermore grants us the opportunity to cross pollinate within our structures, ensuring what coaches have learnt whilst being involved at senior rugby levels is transferred throughout the entire system and structure, thus benefiting at all levels.  We urge our supporters and fans to rally behind the team by coming out and showing their support.”

Exciting signings at Vodacom Blue Bulls

Former Springbok flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff has joined the Vodacom Blue Bulls on a two year deal, the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed on Wednesday. The BBC also confirmed the extension of contracts of a number of leading players in their ranks.

Boshoff was recently released from his contract with Irish province Connacht on humanitary reasons on his wish to return to South Africa following the death of his father.

He now joins the Vodacom Blue Bulls and will return to Pretoria, where he played most of his junior career, till 2019.

Boshoff will be available for the Vodacom Blue Bulls with immediate effect.

Another new face at training is former Xerox Golden Lions loose forward, Jano Venter. The no8 was a stand-out for the Gauteng side during the recent SuperSport Rugby Challenge. He also joined on a two year deal till 2019.

Former Springbok Sevens World Series winner and Olympic Rugby Sevens bronze medallist, Tim Agaba, is another new face at Loftus Versfeld and has joined the squad having recovered from an ankle injury.

The High Performance Manager at the BBC, Xander Janse van Rensburg also confirmed the extension of contracts of a number of high profile players.

Current Springbok squad member, Lizo Gqoboka and South Africa A lock, Jason Jenkins, both extended their contracts till 2019, while highly rated scrumhalf Andre Warner and wing Duncan Matthews also extended their Loftus Versfeld stay. Warner signed till 2019 and Matthews till 2020.

Current Junior Springbok prop, Gerhard Steenekamp, also opted for two more years in Pretoria.

“This is pretty exciting times for us. Not only are we getting players of international calibre confirming their confidence in our structures, but we also see current players expressing their desire to build and extend their careers with us. This is a humbling endorsement of the process underway in Pretoria. We are hoping to build something special and with quality players like these who just put pen to paper, the results will be seen sooner, rather than later,” Janse van Rensburg said.

Summary of new contracts: Marnitz Boshoff (Connacht; flyhalf/fullback) till 2019; Jano Venter (Xerox Golden Lions; no8, flank) till 2019; Tim Agaba (Springbok Sevens, no 8, loose forward) 2019.

Extensions: Lizo Gqoboka, Jason Jenkins, Andre Warner, Gerhard Steenekamp (all 2019), Duncan Matthews (2020).

For more information, please contact Xander Janse van Rensburg at +27 72 197 3136