Bidco, Sigona team up to help out-of-work caddies

Thursday June 04 2020
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A caddie walks away after picking foodstuff and beverages at Sigona Golf Club on April 28, 2020. The Sigona Golf Club has teamed up with fast moving consumer goods manufacturer Bidco Africa to support the club’s struggling caddies with food rations and basic commodities. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

By DAVID KWALIMWA

Sigona Golf Club has teamed up with fast moving consumer goods manufacturer Bidco Africa to support the club’s struggling caddies with food rations and basic commodities such as edible oil.

Speaking to Nation Sport, Sigona Club captain Kalpesh Parekh explained that members of the club have come together and set up a kitty through contributions on a bi-weekly basis.

The club arrived at the decision following a ban on social gatherings and sports activities by the government in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Sports Ministry also ordered all golf clubs and sports venues closed.

That means golfers have kept away from their clubs, depriving caddies of caddy fees which is their only source of income.

"We now operate in full compliance with the government’s directive, and caddies cannot come on to the golf course. However, since the caddies solely depend on income from the club, we have come together in support as one big Sigona family,” said Parekh.

“The initiative started two weeks ago when we came together as members of the club, raised some funds amongst ourselves. With support from Bidco Africa, we have put together a package for every caddie. All registered caddies are entitled to the food rations. As at now we have about 186 who will be receiving donations today,” added Parekh.

Earlier this month, the government ordered the closure of all golf clubs in the country with immediate effect following coronavirus outbreak.

"All golf clubs must be closed with immediate effect. Golfers are free to walk, keeping social distances, but there will be no caddies in any of those golf clubs. In this particular case it is actually the reverse, it is the members who will eventually pass the virus to the caddies and therefore golf clubs and clubhouses will remain closed,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said at the time.

Kagwe’s announcement came days after the death of former Mombasa Golf Club captain Mark Mbua.

The 51-year-old who until his death served as the general manager in charge of terminals for logistics at Mitchell Cotts, is reported to have succumbed to Covid-19 while undergoing medical treatment.

Speaking at the event, caddie Maryanne Wairimu said it has been tough to make ends meet.

"As I speak to you, the landlord has locked my house and I do not know where I will go today,” she explained.

"I am a single mother and my children last shared a meal yesterday. As I was coming here, I had no idea where our next meal would come from. I am not sick neither do I have any Covid-19 symptoms. Why am I being denied the chance to earn a living?" posed Wairimu, who added that Sigona Golf Club has been her sole source of living for the last three years.