Ramela is going places – with cricket and studies : 2015-09-11

Ramela Photo: Stefan Els

Photo: Stefan Els

When Cape Cobras batsman and Stellenbosch University (SU) student Omphile Ramela (27) talks about cricket, he describes it as a vehicle – the conveyor belt that has taken him places he might not have gone otherwise.

Very soon it will take him to India – where he will represent South Africa as part of the South African A team in a triangular limited-over series against India A and Australia A, as well as in two four-day unofficial test matches against India A.

This Soweto-born cricket player’s talent was discovered through the Bakers Mini-cricket programme when he was in primary school and he was offered the opportunity to attend St Peter’s Boys School in Johannesburg from Grade 5 to Grade 7. From there he went to St John’s College, again thanks to cricket.

In 2008 cricket brought Ramela to Stellenbosch, where he became a member and later captain of Maties Cricket’s first team.

But his focus wasn’t just on cricket. He obtained his BA degree and two honours degrees, one in Philosophy and one in Economics, from SU. In 2015 he registered for a master’s degree in Economics with a focus on Economic history.

He is passionate about South Africa and its development and believes an understanding of the country’s economic history is crucial for decision- and policy-making.

“We need to ask: Are we on the right path? What are our challenges? Are we moving forward?” he says. For his master’s thesis he will research the long-term evolution of black inequality in South Africa.

His supervisor, Dr Johan Fourie, describes Ramela as a student who has had to work hard – on and off the field.

“But it was clear from the start that his studies were very important to him. He realised that despite his talent he wants to develop his academic abilities as well. He knows he can’t play cricket forever and that is why it is important that he perseveres with his studies so that he can start his career when his cricketing days are over.”

Unlike many of his peers, Ramela isn’t satisfied by only being a professional sportsman – that is why he makes time for his academic responsibilities. Now, even a PhD is not beyond the realm of possibility, but he would like to see how it goes with his master’s thesis first.

“I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to sustain myself through cricket,” he adds.

He made his debut for the Cape Cobras in 2009, but became a more permanent member of the team in 2014. He talks candidly about quotas and believes it offers Black African cricketers a chance to develop.

“It’s very helpful to players who take the opportunity and make the most of it,” says Ramela, who was the leading run-scorer of the Nashua Cape Cobras in die four-day competition and one of a handful of South Africans to complete a double century in the 2014/2015 season.

He regards his inclusion in the SA A team as a recognition for hard work and a great opportunity to show what he is made of. His main goals are to perform consistently and to represent South Africa as part of the Proteas team.

Author: Pia Nanny

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