Sandile “Sah” Sithole is one of PPI-South Africa’s most prized coaches. His energy is infectious and the kids flock to him wherever he goes. Without a doubt, he has changed hundreds of kids lives in his five years as a PPI-SA coach. This week, PPI Fellow Claire Perry interviewed Sah about his experiences with PPI.
Claire: Sah, tell me your story.
Sah: I started out as a participant back in 2006 in the Leadership Development Programme (LDP). After Igraduated from LDP, I decided to stay on with PPI and coach, thanks to Lamontville’s Area Coordinator Sosha Mthethwa.
Claire: How has it been, working as a coach for PPI for the past five years?
Sah: I’m a celebrity now, thanks to PPI. I am well known, especially within the Wunga Boys.
(Wunga is a mixture of ecstacy, ARV’s, and rat poison that is mixed in with cigarettes. The drug is extremely popular with teenagers throughout KZN and once wunga is tried, the fix is incredibly strong. One day, the basketball pole was stolen from our court. When asked where it went, the participants said the Wunga Boys took it; they will steal anything to smoke more Wunga.)
Claire: Why are you well known within the Wunga Boys?
Sah: Well, I kinda made basketball cool at Bhekaphambile Primary and all the school kids would come and watch our games. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have all the school kids play though I at least was able to win their support during our games. And now, I’m protected because the Wunga boys never go after me beacuse they remember me as the cool coach at PPI.
Claire: Do you think from those kids you did teach, you prevented them from entering the drug world?
Sah: Yes. Beacuse none of the kids I used to coach, do smoke wunga. And they definitely do not associate with any of the Wunga boys because if you’re not with them, you’re against them. I’m pleased to think I made a positive difference in my kids’ lives.
Further, I would go so far as to say 98% of the girls I have taught have practiced non risky behaviour because very few are now, or were, pregnant.
Claire: How do you know this?
Sah: Well, most of the girls still live in Lamontville, studying and finishing matric. (Rubbing his belly in a circular motion) And I don’t see any girls with large, round bellies.
Claire: Well done, Sah. Sah, you are by far the funniest person I know, even if you say you are not beacuse you are more funny in isiZulu. Will you take your talent anywhere?
Sah: Oh no no no. I’ve been busy with something else.
Claire: And what’s that?
Sah: I’m studying civil engineering. Just finished all my exams. One more year! After I graduate, I’m going to have my own company. A plumbing company (he starts laughing)
Claire: Why are you laughing, Sah?
Sah: Ha, I’m just picturing myself (imagining he has a wrench in his hand, he gets down on all fours and demonstrates the motion), fixing all the pipes. Funny. Oh and next year, I want to coach LDP.
Claire: Good to know, Sah. I’ll make sure to tell the next person who runs LDP.
Sah: Oh and Claire, I’ll miss you dearly.
Claire: Thanks, Sah. You, too.
Sah: Oh, and I love you. And that’as no lie.
Claire: Ok, we’ll stop here, now.
To Sah, thank you for your commitment. Well done!