Sometimes, even on the Sunshine Tour, it’s about far more than golf. Sometimes it’s far bigger than birdies and bogeys, great shots or missed putts. The week of the Jonsson Workwear Open was one such week in golf, and the story of one woman’s journey in overcoming unimaginable adversity.
As Germany’s Nick Bachem stood on the 18th green at The Club at Steyn City celebrating his breakthrough victory in this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament last Sunday, next to him stood Jes Foord. She was holding a cheque for R233 000 that had been raised during the tournament through the Birdies for Purpose campaign. It was the culmination of every birdie made by the professionals competing in the event and which had been donated by Jonsson Workwear to The Jes Foord Foundation which works to empower rape survivors through awareness, education and support.
It’s Jes’s own story that suddenly puts anything that ever happens inside the ropes at a golf tournament into stark perspective. A story of adversity, resilience and hope.
“I started The Jes Foord Foundation in 2008 after I was gang raped. I wanted to start an organisation that could be there for people who had been abused or raped and just to be that person who is there for somebody in a time when they really have no one,” said Foord.
“We have grown over the last 15 years and have lots of different projects we work with as well as free counselling, educational talks and awareness programmes. Any work we do with The Jonsson Foundation is incredible. They are always there to help us.”
Nick Jonsson, CEO of Jonsson Workwear, was delighted to be able to present Foord with this cheque. “We’ve been involved with Jes for probably 15 years now. She’s an incredible woman who does amazing work and we’ve supported her in so many different programmes, so it was an obvious choice to support her important work through this tournament.”
At the end of a remarkable tournament, the slight blonde woman who stood alongside Bachem on the 18th green on Sunday represented another powerful moment of triumph over adversity and the role sport plays in supporting this ongoing triumph in the work being done to help others.
Outside the ropes, even professional golfers fight their own individual battles. Their ability to play this game so well does not make them immune to the hardships of life and the challenges that come their way. And that’s when the support of a company that cares about community and a Tour that shares this vision can make a difference.
And a week in golf when one woman can remind us all how to keep moving forward.
“You’ve got to take it one day at a time,” said Foord of her own journey. “I always use the example of buying a bag of apples and if one is off you don’t give up on the whole bag. This support is a perfect example of how beautiful this country is and how incredible the people here are. You can’t let one incident get you down. You have to look at the many positives in your life and also look at how you are able to help other people get through what you have been through. If you’ve been through it personally, you’ve got that extra empathy to be able to help other people get through it. That’s what keeps me going – knowing that something I may say or do along the way will help somebody else get through the same situation.” – Michael Vlismas
Photo: Professional Nick Bachem (left) and Jes Foord of The Jes Foord Foundation celebrating the success of the Birdies for Purpose campaign at the 2023 Jonsson Workwear Open at The Club at Steyn City. Credit: Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour