Excelsior Primary is a public school located on the border between Lamontville (a primarily African community) and Chatsworth (a primarily Indian Community), two highly underserved areas around Durban. For the past 8 years, PPI-SA has been one of the few after school options available to kids there. In today’s blog, PPI-SA International Fellow Bryan Franklin introduces us to two of Excelsior Primary School’s finest participants: Aphiwe Mbatha and Ntuthuko Makhathini.
As I walked onto the Excelsior Primary School court just outside Durban in Lamontville, South Africa I didn’t quite know what to expect. The school’s normal coach was unable to be there for the month of August, so I was set to fill in for the next few weeks. As I gathered the kids on the baseline and began the long and slow process of an American trying to learn and correctly pronounce their names (one of the most enjoyable moments of practice for the kids by far), two leaders quickly emerged. In classic lead by example form, Aphiwe and Ntuthuko (American pronunciation: Tatugo) helped not only to organize their teammates that day, but in the practices to follow we’re consistently at practice early, the first to volunteer and always there to encourage.
How long have you been a part of PPI?
Aphiwe: 2 years
Ntuthuko: 2 years
What is your favorite part about being a PeacePlayer?
Aphiwe: I love practicing with my teammates and it helps me to stay active.
Ntuthuko: It’s fun to play basketball and I like that we get to play games against different schools.
What have you learned from being part of PeacePlayers?
Aphiwe: I’ve learned to play basketball. I have also learned to respect other people and how important that is.
Ntuthuko: I now know how to learn from my mistakes, and not let them get me down.
What are your future goals?
Aphiwe: I want to be a Chemical Engineer. My brother is studying mechanical engineering. He brought home a book with the different types of engineers and I got to read about each one. Chemical Engineer sounded the most interesting so I researched it some more online. That’s what I would like to be.
Ntuthuko: I want to be a basketball coach. I really like playing the game and when I get older. I would like to teach kids like me to play too.