After some time off with schools being on their winter holidays, PeacePlayers International-South Africa came back in a big way this past week, being a part of 3 basketball events in just 2 days. PPI-SA held a tournament in our newly acquired area of Waterloo, and 3 Laureus YES Leaders had events in Umlazi and Molweni.
As you remember from our previous blogs, PPI-SA has 9 coaches taking part in the 2nd year of the Laureus YES program, a 6-month project aimed at empowering young people to use sport as a tool to promote positive change in their lives and communities. As a part of their training, YES leaders have to run their own event using sport as the agent to drive social change. They are responsible for all aspects of the event, and are encouraged to be as creative as possible. This has been great for their professional development as each coach is using sport in their own unique way to help their community.
This past Friday, YES leader Smanganele Bhengu held her event at Sukuma Primary School in Umlazi. The day featured a basketball tournament in which teams competed for two 1st place trophies, one for boys and one for girls. Four different Umlazi primary schools were present, totaling over 70 participants.Sukuma allowed students and teachers at the school to come and support the teams, making for an electric atmosphere (picture something reminiscent of the Cameron Crazies).
The cheering and noise hardly ever ceased, and when the home team (Sukuma) scored a basket, it was hard to hear yourself think as the kids erupted into chants and cheers. It was this kind of energy that made the day really special. PPI-SA staff were there to support Sma on the day, volunteering as coaches and referees, (and some much needed crowd control!)
“I was really nervous to run my first event, but I had so much fun” Sma said. “Thank you so much to PeacePlayers and Laureus YES for giving me the skills and confidence I need to manage and implement a successful event.”
Saturday kept us twice as busy, with two events happening simultaneously. About one hour north of Durban, Sfiso Mthembu and Sanele Zondi (who both represent PPI-SA in the YES program) ran a 5 school basketball tournament in Molweni. Sanele and Sfiso have both come up through the PPI-SA system in Molweni as players, coaches, and now leaders and mentors of basketball in their community. Without them, basketball would not be the powerful force that it is in driving positive social change in this small rural community.
At the very same time, 5 PPI-SA staff headed to our new area of Waterloo, to hold another basketball tournament including the communities of Waterloo, Wentworth, and Lamontville. Waterloo impressed everyone by taking home both the girls and boys 1st place trophies. We also gave away Nike gear and prizes for “Champions of Peace.” We would like to thank Nike and the Sports for Social change Network for making this event possible.
PeacePlayers will remain busy as we head full speed into our 3rd semester for the next 8 weeks!