I have been Involved with PeacePlayers International- South Africa ( PPI-SA) for five years now. I started in 2006 as a participant for our Leadership Development Program (LDP) for the City Area, then coached in 2008 for the City Area. In 2010I was promoted to be an Area Coordinator. The first school I coached was Durban Primary
Nasiphi’s coaching session at carrington
school, a middle class school just a few blocks away from Carrington Primary. In the second semester of 2009, I was transferred to Carrington Primary to coach. I still remember my first day at the school. I went home after practice and cried, I could not believe the level of poverty in the school. The kids were so used to their circumstances that to them it was part of life, yet they were still filled with an incredible amount of energy every practice. PPI-SA was the only good thing those kids had. I was their smile, their hope, their happiness and that’s what motivated me to be more dedicated to the school, I could see the positive impact I had to the children and the teachers.
Last year a representative named Nishi from Discovery Health called PPI wanting to do something to help our organization for Discovery’s Community Service Initiative (CSI). Former PPI-SA fellow Claire Perry, who I was working with at the time, suggested that we ask them to help out Carrington Primary. Since then Discovery has done so much work at the school. Last year I took grade R through grade Two for a visit at Discovery’s office where the kids got food, books, and other goodies. Discovery has renovated classrooms, toilets, our basketball court, and done other projects to help improve the school. Nishi’s involvement at the school has been tremendous, she just keeps on fund-raising and working hard to make those kids lives better.
This past week, PPI-SA celebrated Nelson Mandela Day in true PPI fashion, using basketball as a vehicle to create friendships and drive social change. As we all know that Mandela Day was officially adopted by the United Nations as “Nelson Mandela International Day” in 2009. The UN decided that there could be nothing more fitting than celebrating Mr. Mandela’s birthday, July 18, with a day dedicated to his life’s work. The Mandela Day campaign message is simple: Mr. Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for human rights, so in honor of this commitment, people around the world are asked to dedicate 67 minutes of their time to serve their local community. Mandela Day is a call to action for individuals. We are inspired by Mr. Mandela to take responsibility for ourselves and to understand our responsibility to others.
For Mandela Day, PPI-SA teamed up with Discovery Health and Virgin Active Health Club and hosted a “Sports Day” for 500 students at Carrington Primary school, a PPI-SA partner school in our PSP p
Mtu and Debby explaining drills
rogram. The event was a day of fun physical activities for the students, promoting health, wellness, and friendly competition. The day started off with a basketball clinic during which PPI-SA’s office staff, including MD Marcel van der Heever and new OPS manager Debby van der Heever, coached and ran basketball drills and relay races. The students also fed off of the ever-present energy and enthusiasm of Mtu Zulu, Kristin Degou, Andile Msomi, Mandla Sibulawa, Thobani Khumalo and I . Mtu lead a “foot-fire” drill to get the kids going, while Thobani kept the energy high by inspiring dancing and chanting among participants and spectators as they supported one another. New fellow Kyler McClaryalso got into the action, running several drills and games in which he awarded points to the teams that cheered the loudest for their teammates.
“The enthusiasm of the kids is what really made this day special,” Kyler remarked. “The energy-level was incredibly high from beginning to end and was a clear sign of the fun and enjoyment being had by players and coaches alike.”After the basketball clinic, Virgin Active Health Club put on a Zumba Class for the entire school, and Discovery Health had volunteers that provided all students with lunch.
The teachers in the school were all so excited about the day, and they were very grateful for all the work I have put in to help the school. If it wasn’t for the opportunity given to me by PPI-SA and the great relationship I have built with Discovery, the Mandela day would not have been possible. From my experiences with PeacePlayers I have learned to always do my best in everything I do, to always have fun and to reach out and help in any was
Wrap up after Mandela Day basketball clinic
I can. It’s amazing how much small gestures can accomplish if it’s done with love. All I ever wanted was to coach those kids in basketball and life skills- but I ended being a sister, a motivator, and most of all a role model in the school.
I would like to thank Discovery Health, Virgin Active, and Carrington Primary for a wonderful opportunity to serve our local community in Mandela’s honor.