Change the world


Mandela University student Jason Sheehan has been selected for the Eastern Cape team to compete at the SA Fencing Championships in September in Gauteng, after only being active in the sport since March this year.


From left, Jessica Noome, Moyisi Tunzi, Jessica Raper, Jason Sheehan, who was selected for the EC team, and Jon-Paul Raper, who won gold in the senior event at the Eastern Cape Championships.

Jason wanted to see what fencing was about at the demonstration at the University’s Campus Life Festival in March this year. “Ever since I've started, fencing has become integral to my life now. There is no other sport engaging both physically and intellectually like fencing, and I recommend it to anyone looking to push the limits of their reflexes and quick decision-making skills”, he says.  

Another two students, Moyisi Tunzi and Jessica Noome, who started with Jason, also participated in the recent Eastern Cape trials at the Eastern Cape Fencing Championships in Port Alfred.

“Jason can think strategically and solve problems while in motion. This is what makes a good fencer. All three students are eager to learn new skills and show much talent”, says their coach Jessica Raper, from the School of Accounting. She mentors top accounting students for future leadership in the Pinnacle Leadership Programme at the School.

“I enjoy martial arts and the challenge to overcome yourself and your opponent. Fencing forces me not to flinch in the face of someone trying to stab me, but to attack instead. There is a subtle subconscious importance in learning to face towards challenge, without flinching that translates into other aspects of life. Some would say it teaches bravery” Moyisi says.

He is a second year BPharm student, who also saw the demonstration and started fencing a few weeks later. He also has a BSc degree in Biology from Walter Sisulu University and is 30 years old.

Jessica Noome watched a YouTube video about the sport and thought it would be great for fitness, and making friends, and once she realised it was a very mental sport that didn't involve running, she was sold. She started fencing in April.

The University does not currently have a Fencing Club, but Jessica and her son BCom Financial Planning graduate and Mandela University alumnus, Jon-Paul Raper, are the service providers at the Excelsior EC Fencing Academy at the Walmer Town Hall. The club offers students a discounted fee for coaching at this established club.

“Fencing is an Olympic sport and a club at the University would open up a whole new world of sport. Fencing teaches life skills too, says Jessica Raper.

“We will love to bring fencing back to the University, but at this time there are too few available venues for the students to start an external sport activity.

Jessica and Jon-Paul started the Excelsior Fencing Club in 2011 as giving back to sport. They also developed fencing in other parts of the Eastern Cape. Both have national colours in Modern Pentathlon and competed internationally.

Jon-Paul is the senior Eastern Province coach at the club and director of his own financial planning company, whereas Jessica is a coach and EC Fencing Association Chairperson.

“Our goal is to build people up through sport and we love the impact we have seen in the lives of our athletes because of fencing. This is a sport that really makes a difference to the individual as it makes them psychologically stronger and more confident, says Jessica and Jon-Paul.

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160