Croatia is famous for its beaches and rocky shoreline, the red and white chequered patchworks their sportsmen and women wear and a little-known fact that much of the television show, Game of Thrones, was filmed there.
For two drummies, Razaan Grainger and Charisma Hendricks, both 13, it will come to signify something different entirely.
It will be the place where they got a chance to represent their country at the 2016 Majorette Sport World Federation Championships, in the resort town of Porec.
The girls are part of a team of 30 drum majorettes who will make up team SA at the championships.
This all comes off the back of being part of their Groote Schuur Primary School (GSPS) drummies team and going on to represent Western Province.
As chairwoman of the Groote Schuur team, Razaan’s mother, Naboe, has seen both the girls grow from strength to strength. For her it has been a case of long hours seeing to the needs of the team as well as her daughter’s individual needs but that has all paid off as the achievements pile up.
“As chairlady for the past three years and going into my final year of my second term, pretty much 80% of my free time is spent doing drummies things with our team. As parents we are very proud of Razaan, not only because she has reached such a significant goal in her young life but more so because she has done so with humility and the sheer determination to do her best.
“My message to the national team is that they must simply put their best foot forward and remember that drummies all over South Africa look up to them so they must give their fans something to remember,” she said.
For Razaan, who took up drummies in 2013 at the insistence of friends, the journey has been a rapid, yet rewarding one, and after putting herself through the rigorous trials process earlier this year, she was selected to represent the junior national side. She is looking forward to the memories she will now make on tour.
“My favourite thing about being on the SA team is the bond the girls have made even though we are all from different teams. I think we will do absolutely great because we have a strong group of girls in our team. Our focus has been on teamwork and making sure we become one team. Besides competing I am also excited to go to Disney Land and to explore more of the world.
“To all the newbies in drummies, my message is that to be a great drummie all you need is to smile, lift your feet, put your shoulders back and have fun. Always stay positive and don’t ever be negative towards yourself or your team members. Always treat each other like sisters,” she said.
Charisma began her journey at the age of eight, running excitedly to her mother’s car as she sat outside waiting to collect her daughter with the news that she had been selected to the team. Like Razaan, her rise has also been a substantial one and although she has subsequently moved on to high school and joined a new team, her roots and friendship with her teammates at GSPS are firm.
“What I really enjoy about drummies is the friendships one builds, not just with your own teammates but with others that you meet through the sport. The diversity of girls one meets is just fascinating. I get to meet girls from all over the country and now get to meet girls from around the world.
“I look forward to experiencing what it is like in another country as this will be my first overseas trip. The languages, the people, the drummies from around the world -I can’t wait to experience it all. I know we will do well as we have a different skillset to the European drummies and I feel this will set us apart and be to our advantage.
“I think the key ingredient to getting anywhere in life is to persevere and learn from all the obtacles you may experience and use them as stepping stones to get where you want to be. Drummies is hard work but as long as you put in the effort and the hours you will succeed. An old team motto is that if you reach for the stars you will land on the moon,” said Charisma.
As a parent, Charisma’s mother, Mary, admits that once her daughter joined the sport it was a major learning curve for her too, having not even known what drum majorettes was at the time. Since then her parents have become her most fervent supporters.
“It took some getting used to at first as you don’t expect a junior team to practice as much as they did but when your child is as passionate about a sport as Charisma was, you support them all the way.
“We are so proud of the determination and resilience she has shown over the years – she is a real tough cookie.
“Her ultimate goal is to represent SA at senior level. With the next World Championships being hosted in Cape Town in 2018 it would be a great honour for her to be able to compete in front of her friends and family,” she said.
* Although they have raised funds throughout the year, there is still a considerable financial burden for the girls to cover. If you can help, contact Naboe Grainger on 082 417 7414 or Mary Hendricks on 082 498 4926.