Clyde Fortuin: Gloveman, Batsman and an Inspiration
When it comes to cricket, South Africa boasts an array of talent, especially in the wicket-keeping department. The Proteas have celebrated a rich line of glovemen with the likes of Dave Richardson, Ray Jennings, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock. With a rising star in the form of Clyde Fortuin, it seems like the country will not have any worries with filling out the position of the man behind the stumps. At 18 years of age, having helped South Africa win the u/19 Cricket World Cup in the UAE earlier this year, Fortuin is one of the biggest prospects of the sport. He is sound behind the stumps with quick reactions and the agility of a cat, and he is a brilliant batsman that can score at more than a run a ball from the word “go”.
In recent years the youngster has performed well with the gloves and the bat for South Africa and Western Province in the junior ranks. Last year he represented Western Province u/19 at the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola u/19 Cricket Week, where he won the awards for the best catch of the campaign and the player of the tournament. A few months later he made valuable contributions to South Africa’s u/19 Cricket World Cup victory. Following that feat he tasted success again, this time with his amateur team, Western Province Cricket Club, when they won the 1A Western Province Association One-Day Cup earlier this month. This did not come easy, as he had a difficult upbringing.
Fortuin was born on 18 August in 1995 in Cape Town. When he was one year old, his mother, Connie, was not able to take care of him and she was therefore forced to put him up for adoption. A friendly couple, Dion and Cynthia Langeveldt, took him in with his biological mother paying the young Fortuin visits whenever she could.
The Western Province wicket keeper mentioned that he and the Langeveldts did not always have a lot, especially having grown up in Walmer Estate near to Woodstock, but Dion and Cynthia always made sure that they could give him anything they could. Fortuin always had an interest in sport and as he grew older, he joined a football club where he met his long time friend Jason Fourie. Dion also introduced cricket to the young Clyde and this is when it was discovered that he had a talent. This caught the eye of Jason’s father, Charles Fourie, who is a cricket enthusiast and whose sons played the game at a club level. At the age of 11, Fortuin was hit my more tragedy, as his foster-father, Dion had passed away of a lung illness.
The times were tough for the young boy, but due to the mentoring if Cynthia and his friend’s father, Charles, he was encouraged to deal with the issue through cricket. This is how he managed to refrain from violence and drug abuse, which was common in the suburb he had lived in.
Fortuin claims that a lot of credit is due to Charles, as he was there for the young boy after Dion had passed away, providing some guidance to his life. He also mentions that Charles is his guardian and that he is a great guy; as he did not allow Fortuin’s talent go to waste. He helped provide for the young boy by buying his whole cricket kit and also by paying half his school tuition fees.
The other half was earned through a scholarship for his sporting abilities at St. Joseph’s College in Rondebosch. Charles Fourie paid for half his school tuition fees, which was quite expensive already also after considering that Charles had to provide for two of his own sons as well. As mentioned earlier, Clyde is a very close friend of the youngest son of Charles who is Jason Fourie. The two have been playing soccer and cricket together for years. In fact Jason is quite a talented cricketer himself having represented the Western Province u/19 team last year at the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Cricket Week alongside his best friend.
Fortuin spends a lot of his time with the Fouries and every alternate week with his biological mother, Connie, who is trying to make up for lost time with her son during his early days of his childhood.
Watching Fortuin’s technique and his aggressive batting style, it comes as no surprise that his idol is AB de Villiers. The young gloveman also bears the number ‘17’, which is the same as the current Proteas skipper. Fortuin is also being coached by a South African wicket-keeping legend, Ray Jennings. Jennings believes that Fortuin has the ability to replace his hero. He says that the young man has improved tremendously and if he continuous to develop, he could occupy the position behind the sticks in two or three years time.
The former South African wicket keeper also claims that players that have experienced a difficult upbringing usually take the field with a lot of fight in them, however in Fortuin’s circumstances, it appears to be different. Jennings continues by adding that Fortuin did not realise how close he was to international cricket and therefore, the coach feared that the youngster did not trust himself enough to take advantage of that.
Jennings also mentioned that he had been working with Fortuin for a while, so that he can work on the youngster’s mental ability as well. He claims that the young cricketer does not truly know his potential and therefore the coach empowered him with responsibility. He continuously challenged Fortuin so that he can grow as an individual and ultimately become a better cricket player, as he also wanted the prospect to recognise his own ability and to capitalise on that. Jennings claims that there are people who fall victim to that and are lost to ‘mediocrity’.
Fortuin’s success is just a small part of what is to come, but it is also a great indication of what remarkable things one can achieve with so little, just as long as you capitalise on your opportunities. Therefore, Clyde Fortuin is more than a cricketer.