PeacePlayers International Fellow Claire Perry sat down with veteran PPI – South Africa coach and one-time Area Manager Andile ‘Busta’ Afrikander to ask him about PPI’s influence on his own life and those he has taught. Below, PPI – SA, according to Busta Afrikander.
Busta (on the right), playing some "enthusiastic" defense in an intra-coaches game.
Claire: Busta, why do you coach for PPI?
Busta: Because it gives me a chance to work with kids, and I like working with kids. And I get to teach them basketball, which I also love. Growing up, I didn’t have anyone to teach me sport. No one was there for me; I didn’t want to continue this pattern, so I joined PPI to make a difference.
Claire: Do you think you have made a difference?
Busta: Yah. I think have…[considering]…I know I have. Basketball-wise, some of the kids I’ve coached, I’ve opened up doors for. They’ve moved from PPI – SA to Durban High School, a good basketball school. I – we – have given them a chance to get a better education through a basketball opportunity. And, some of the kids I’ve coached, sometimes I bump into them, and they’ll greet me with a smile, and that shows me I was a good guy towards them. A good mentor. I know, then, I’ve made them a better person.
Claire: So just because they smile at you , you think you are a good role model? I smile at people I don’t like. You know, put up a front. Play nice. Kill ‘em with kindness…
Busta: They greet me with a smile. That gives me confidence because whatever I taught them, they still remember me. They wouldn’t have smiled at me if I had shown them the wrong way to lead or teach.
Claire: I hear you. If kids don’t like you, they aren’t going to go out of their way to be nice or smile when they see you. So if you were to bump into your former players and they greet you with a smile, then I trust they looked up to you. Do you think you’re a minority at PPI – SA, having such profound effects on the kids you teach?
Busta: I think the majority of the coaches have been positive influences on their kids, just like I have. I’m not in the minority.
Claire: How does PPI – SA recruit such positive coaches? Amazing training?
Busta: I don’t think it’s training, per se. The position attracts people who are in the same mind set, who want to make a positive impact in their communities. The coaches aim to do good, yet they may not know how to do good. That’s where PPI comes in and trains them on how to teach, lead, and serve as positive role models.
Claire: Has PPI trained you to become a better role model? Can you say that PPI – SA has as strong an impact on you as you say it has on the other coaches?
Busta: I think, indirectly, working at PPI – SA has made me a better role model. Because on a weekly basis I have to stand in front of 20 kids, I need to teach them and serve as the strong, confident coach I think I am.
Claire: How is that indirectly?
Busta: It’s not just the training; it’s the opportunities PPI – SA presents to me day-in and day-out, my sessions with the primary school kids, three days a week. I wasn’t taught how to keep 25 kids under control in a rainstorm, [when] half are crying and others just want to fight with one another over somebody’s boyfriend across the street…I have to present myself a certain way, and I think PPI has prepared me to think on my feet and be creative, though it’s my want and desire to be a good role model for these kids that has allowed me to make the impact I’ve had on my kids.
Claire: So would you want a training on effective crowd control and thinking on your feet?
Busta: Is there such a training?
Claire: You could teach it.
Busta: [Laughing] I…I don’t think the training necessary exists. I think when it comes to dealing with people, you’re either good or not. Kids can read through you. The fact that I’m willing to do good automatically makes me a good role model. PPI-SA strengthens my skills to lead by presenting me with opportunities to lead and teach.
Claire: How do you think PPI – SA can make even more of an impact on those it serves every day in the surrounding Durban communities?
Busta: I don’t think there’s much more we can do. I think we just need to keep on presenting this chance to kids and in more areas. Just keep on going, doing the good job we’re doing. There are lots of communities that need programs like ours.
Claire: Thanks Buster.
Buster: Sure, cp21.