We chatted to former Ikeys winger Suwi Chibale who completed a rare feat in playing in three prestigious Intervarsities. Featuring in the Oxford vs Cambridge intervarsity representing Cambridge, running out for University of Edinburgh in the 2019 Royal Bank of Scotland Scottish Varsity Match against St Andrews and of course the famous Ikeys vs Maties match.

Hi Suwi, thank you for chatting with us. Why don’t you kick off by telling us what you are up to over at Cambridge University and share your academic journey to get you there? 

Suwi Chibale: Thank you and of course!

My academic journey started at UCT where I completed a BSc in Chemistry and BCom (Hons) in Financial Analysis & Portfolio Management. Subsequently, I spent a year doing a Masters in Management, at the University of Edinburgh. These have all been enriching experiences that I am grateful to have had.

I am currently in my second year of a Masters in Social Innovation, at Queens’ College, which I will complete in June 2022. My research is looking at how we can improve scholarship programs in Model C schools, in South Africa. 

Fantastic! And great to see you still make time for rugby. You are following the footsteps of others who played for both teams UCT and Cambridge, has this influenced your decision? 

Suwi Chibale: A good friend of mine and former Ikeys lock James Kilroe, encouraged me to apply many years ago, he played for both clubs. Another name that comes to mind is UCT Rugby Club Chairman Greg Fury. My dad (Prof Kelly Chibale – professor of organic chemistry at the University of Cape Town, and founder and director of H3D research center) did not play rugby, but was also at Cambridge. 

You have been in action for the ‘Light Blues’ representing Cambridge. Tell us about the famed Intervarsity Oxford vs Cambridge and how it compares to The Ikeys Intervarsity vs Maties

Suwi Chibale: It truly is a unique experience. In most rugby environments you aren’t trying to beat only one team but there are leagues and championships to play for, at Cambridge our only goal is to beat Oxford, in the Varsity Match. The journey and traditions leading up to the game are special, making one understand the meaning and history of the fixture. For many involved, it is the biggest game they would have been involved in, so the intensity is certainly felt. Given that single focus goal, the two fixtures Cambridge vs Oxford and Ikeys vs Maties are slightly different. UCT meets Maties twice a season (Varsity Cup & Super League) and while the intensity is high and the bragging rights are real, there are broader competitions in play. That said, all are great fixtures and mean a lot to everyone involved!

What are your top 3 favorite memories from UCT rugby days
Suwi Chibale: It is hard to pin down just three, but I would say:
The World University Rugby World Cup, in Oxford, in 2015.
Also beating Maties on a rainy Wednesday evening, in Stellenbosch 2014. Our captain that day Paul Cohen instructed us: “Don’t kick anything!”. We happily obliged in true Ikeys fashion.
Lastly winning the league with the Eagles XV (UCT 2nd team) in 2015.

Great memories, thank you Suwi. Last question, what would you want future Ikeys players to know about the club and their experience? 

Suwi Chibale:  Relationships are so important. You meet people who have genuine care and desire to build relationships that carry on long after leaving. The more you put into your experience, the more you will get out of it. Most people will be at UCT for the degree but I personally believe the educational experience is sometimes beyond just the lecture halls. It could be unconventional such as at the post-match fines sessions with your new friends, or in the rugby environment, you may find yourself involved with. The UCT rugby club definitely provides this and I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved.

Thank you Suwi, best of luck with your Masters!