This past Friday PeacePlayers International – South Africa kicked off its third term with an Extravaganza at the Umlazi Indoor Sports Centre. These bi-monthly events bring together 4 schools across two communities. Kids participate in life-skills and ice breaker drills to get to know one another, before coming back together with their teams for an afternoon of basketball games. Last Friday’s Extravaganza included nearly 100 boys and girls from Collingwood and Assegai Primary Schools of Wentworth, and Sukuma and Mthethweni Primary Schools of Umlazi.
At this particular Extravaganza PPI was joined by a special guest, Londiwe Myeza of SAPREF. SAPREF which is the largest crude oil refinery in Southern Africa, recently came on board as a sponsor of PPI-SA, donating 50 basketballs. Londiwe joined us for her first Extravaganza to present the balls and spend some time with the kids.
The event kicked-off with fellow Ben Constable walking the kids through a New Zealand original ice breaker called “Walk the Plank”. In this particular ice breaker, kids are asked to dance around the court. While dancing they’ll receive commands like “Life Preserver”—in which three kids must cross arms in a circle—or “Life Boat 5”—where 5 kids must make a straight line at half court. Anybody who incorrectly executes the command is out until we get down to one winner. As an added twist, as the players are receiving commands they must come together in groups with children from other schools to help facilitate interaction.
After this quick and fun warm-up, each team played two games against the schools from the other community (i.e. Collingwood Primary faced off against Mthethweni and Sukuma Primary Schools), before breaking half way through for the presentation by SPAREF.
Players and coaches alike were sad to hear the final whistle blow as the games came to a close. However, the fun didn’t stop there. When the buses got stuck in traffic on their way back to the arena to pick up the kids, something amazing happened. The boys and girls didn’t just automatically retreat to hang-out with their teammates, but instead continued interacting with players form a different school. In one corner of the gym there was a dance circle, where Mthethweni and Assegai took turns being the center of the show. In another, players from all four schools lined up to cheer on Fellows Ben Constable and Bryan Franklin in an impromptu dunk show. Finally, outside in the parking lot, Collingwood and Sukuma primary school participants sat down and shared some post-game snacks. For everything that happened Friday afternoon—from basketball games, to basketball donations, from winning to losing, and plenty of cheering in between—it was these small moments afterwards that proved the event a great success.
PPI-SA would like to give a special thank you to Londiwe Myeza and SAPREF for their generous donation and support of the program.