Cape Town – Now fully retired from cricket, former Proteas star JP Duminy isn’t quite sure what the next chapter in his professional life holds.
He has proven himself to be a more than useful television commentator, he has a passion for business culture and he sees himself coaching one day, but at this very moment nothing is confirmed.
For most, that would be daunting, but Duminy is fully invested in his JP21 Foundation and, on Thursday, the organisation took a significant step in its five-year history when a cricket oval was unveiled at Hyacinth Primary School in Mitchells Plain.
Through the foundation, Duminy is using the sport that gave him everything as a vehicle for change in the community where he grew up.
Six concrete pitches have already been laid down at various schools in the area, but Thursday’s unveiling was different. In addition to the new astro, two concrete nets have also been constructed at the school while work is being done to get the grass outfield up to scratch.
It may not seem like a lot, but to the nearly 1 400 learners at Hyacinth it is significant.
The JP21 Foundation effectively facilitates all primary school cricket in Mitchells Plain and a statistic that Duminy is particularly proud of is that, through his investment, the number of primary schools that now play cricket in the area has risen from four to 38 in five years.
“It’s just really special to have an opportunity to leave a legacy after a playing career that I’m extremely proud of,” Duminy told Sport24 on Thursday.
“Where you really leave a legacy, I believe, is in investing in people and the next generation.
“Hopefully this will help provide these youngsters with an opportunity to make something of themselves and hopefully we will see the next Proteas player coming from Mitchells Plain.”
There are three full-time employees at JP21 while Duminy himself is enjoying the opportunity to spend more time on the ground at the various sites. It is a luxury he never had during his playing career.
“The whole premise around the foundation is something my dad instilled in me at a young age and he had this vision of me giving back to the community I was from,” said Duminy.
“I never knew how that was going to look, but five years ago this opportunity came about and I saw that for me to really make an imprint in the community, this was how we needed to do it.
“With me traveling throughout my playing career, I’ve not had an opportunity to really be hands on. Now that there is a little bit more time, I would like to invest into that.”
On Thursday, Duminy called in a favour from former Proteas team-mate David Miller, who spent time with the children during a coaching clinic.
“I actually got a bit emotional when JP was talking because he comes from this area,” Miller said.
“It might not seem like a lot to us, but it means so much to the kids.”
Headmaster Cedric Anyster agreed.
“This is really something that we can treasure and keep building on,” he said.
“The learners here accept JP as part of the community. He lifts the morale of the learners.”