The force be strong at ‘Kon-Tiki’

SHIFAAN RYKLIEF

A number of troops from across the city took part in the annual Kon-Tiki expedition at Zandvlei, Muizenberg, at the weekend.

Among the troops in attendance was Wynberg-based First Wetton Scout Group, led by group scouter, Moosa Mohammed, in what was their 13th year at the expedition.

The annual Kon-Tiki event is based on an old South American expedition dating back to 1947, when a Norwegian explorer crossed the Pacific ocean using a raft. And, scouter Mohammed said this has become tradition and is the highlight on the scouting calendar. Each troop had 48 hours to construct a raft. Six scouts were launched to the open water and slept on it overnight.

Last year, First Wetton won the costume dress section and got 90 percent for the construction of their raft.

“We had to construct the raft using only wood, drums and rope. And, it has to include a toilet, kitchen, flag, be painted according to the theme – Star Wars – and it needed to be seaworthy,” said Mohammed.

“Last year’s theme was musical and we went as District Six. We placed 10th out of about 37 teams for the raft construction.

“The children started preparing for this four months in advance already.

“Preparations happened every weekend and at times during the week. We had an all-girls team this year who dressed up as princesses from the movie and spent the night on the raft.

“Everything was done by the children themselves. We were here to guide them, but they were the ones who did the building and costume designs,” he said.

There were five phases that needed to be completed and were judged as the rafts were being built – base, drums, floor board, cabin and safety equipment.

This year, First Wetton were tied at fourth position in the costume section, and finished in the lower end of the rankings in the raft construction section.

“For us, the focus of the event is not about winning, but more about participating because the children learn a tremendous amount of skills just doing these activities. We have about 30 cubs aged between seven and 10 years old; and over 40 scouts who are between the ages of 11 to 17 years,” said Mohammed.

“At Kon-Tiki, everyone helps to construct the raft, and the ones who don’t get to overnight on it take part in the fringe team activities like volleyball, tug-of-war and rowing. The six on board were given spare time activities which they needed to complete on the raft. In one of these activities they were given a menu which they needed to cook. Once they did that, they had to row in to land for the judges to assess the meals,” he said.

Chief judge Robbie Owen said more than 600 scouts and guides took part in the competition, as well as 160 cubs and more than 3 000 visitors.

“This is my seventh year as chief judge and we had a great turn out this year once again. And, we also run the same competition in Johannesburg,” said Owen.

“We had 25 troops and 43 fringe teams taking part at the weekend. The competition involves everyone. There were also parents who were involved in a braai competition – called Star Wors – where they got to make boerewors rolls.

“First Monte Vista was the overall winners and First Durbanville won the theme dress trophy,” he said.