This weekend, PPI-SA International Fellows Kyler McClary and Kristin Degou were lucky enough to visit one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world, Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town is the second-most populated city in South Africa after Johannesburg, and the provincial capital city of the Western Cape. While there, we were able to experience much of South Africa’s natural beauty and the diversity of people that make up this vibrant city.
One of the most fun parts of the weekend was that we were able to meet up with former PPI-SA participant and coach, Zanele Sikakane. Zanele is originally from Molweni, a rural area located about an hour northwest of Durban. PPI started working within the Molweni area about 5 years after it started its program in South Africa and was able to build a culture of basketball that still exists today. PPI-SA works in 5 primary schools in Molweni and the area has its own club team, the Molweni Flames. As a young girl, Zanele played in the Primary School Program (PSP), and then carried on playing in high school with our LDP program. PeacePlayers introduced Zanele to basketball and she fell in love with the game. With a combination of natural talent and hard work, Zanele was offered a scholarship to play at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She has been there for 5 months now and is studying Sports Science. She is really enjoying the level of competition in Cape Town at the University level and earned a starting spot on the team as a first year.
If Zanele could give any words of advice to current basketball coaches, she would tell them “to treat every player on the team equally.” She emphasizes the importance of individual attention on and off the court, and showing the kids that you truly care about them. “Practice runs much smoother when all players feel equally important” Zanele said.
We are very proud of Zanele for all she has accomplished and for chasing her dreams. She comes from an area where opportunities like this are scarce, but through PPI-SA and basketball, Zanele was able to widen her perceptions of the world and what she is capable of. It took a lot of courage for Zanele to leave her home and family and move to a big city on the opposite side of the country. Zanele’s story is very special, and inspires everyone at PPI-SA to keep working to fulfill our mission for other children.