Future PeacePlayers

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Last week PPI-SA were joined by two grade 11’s from Durban High School for their “work experience” week. Meet Sicelo and Thobani.

Tell us a little about yourselves, where did you grow up, what are you passionate about and what are you doing with your lives right now? 

Sicelo: My name is Sicelo Dzingwa a 16 year old boy from Johannesburg South Africa currently on a basketball scholarship at Durban High School (DHS). DHS is the top basketball programme in South Africa winning back to back national championships. I am the captain of the U/16 national team who are currently zone 6 champions and are currently eighth in Africa.

Thobani: My name is Thobani Xulu and I am a 17 year old who, like Sicelo, is also doing his grade 11 year at DHS. I spent most of my life living in Centurion before moving back to Mthunzini with my family. I am very passionate about music and theatre as I am pursuing a dream of making one or both of them my profession.

Why did you choose PeacePlayers to do your work experience?

Thobani: I’ve spent four years at DHS which is one of South Africa’s most successful basketball institutions. I grew a deep love for the sport here and PPI gave me an opportunity to use what I love to make a change in the community.

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Sicelo playing for the U/16 South African Men’s National Team

Sicelo: I for one really didn’t know what I wanted to do besides basketball, so when I found PeacePlayers it was the perfect match. It enabled me to use tools which I have from business to marketing, which is what I plan on studying in university, to help basketball grow in my country.

What, if anything, did you learn during your week here?   

Sicelo: Through basketball PPI aims to bridge divisions and this week I learnt how powerful the game is. When we get kids from different communities, of different beliefs to play together they eventually like one another it creates peace amongst them. I learnt to use basketball as a tool to better communities.

Thobani: PPI aims to bridge divisions through basketball, I believe that divisions are caused by people not accepting or settling their differences. This week I learnt to see people as my equals regardless of our differences. I also discovered how basketball, which is something I’ve always just done for fun, could change the world. This has inspired me to attempt to do the same with my other talents.

What is the benefit of PPI to the community?

Thobani: PPI is very beneficial to our community as they bridge division and unite different people from different parts of our community. PPI also develops leaders who could make a huge positive impact to our communities and inspire people.

Sicelo: PPI unites kids from different background which is great for our community because kids are treated equally and are taught life skills which in future will enable to contribute to the success and development of the community.

Did your experience change your perspective on life?

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Thobani (Center) in the play Sweet Charity. Photo Credit: Durban Girls High School

Sicelo: Before this experience I didn’t really realise how big divisions between people were this week I learned to appreciate what I have and to work hard. I also plan to use my talent, basketball, to make a difference in the community.

Thobani: I have always been an optimistic person so I usually have a positive attitude towards life. This week my time at PPI was limited as I had a commitment as a lead role in Durban Girls High School’s production, “Sweet Charity”. The little time I spent here was an eye opening experience for me as it taught me that even small contributions could ironically make a huge difference. In a nutshell being here has inspired me to stop being a dreamer and become a doer.

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