PPI-SA Introducing Our Coaches: Archange Kalonji

Coach Archange in action.

My Name is Archange Mickelange Kaniki Kalonji born on the 14th May 1997 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Mbuji Mayi) a very small village in the heart of Congo. I am currently living in South Africa (Durban).

I moved to South Africa in 2003 due to political unrest in Congo and the war between rebels and soldier but my father had moved here before us (2002) he fled Congo because he was working for the government and someone had hired a hit man to take kill him, so he left Congo and moved to South Africa leaving us in Congo.

One year later we followed him to South Africa, and joined my father in Johannesburg. I was a soccer lover at that time and attended Yoeville boys Primary school not knowing a single word of English expect “hello”.

In 2004 my father died from Meningitis and from then my love for sport ended because he was the only one that kept pushing me. In 2007 we moved to Durban seeking for a better easier life.

When we arrived in Durban I got with the wrong crew and started shoplifting and surrounding myself with older guys who did and sold drugs(eg.tik,cocaine,Heroin,marijuana ). After a while I saw kids playing basketball at a church next to my building.I used to hate basketball till I was introduced to it by my cousin Oliver Amisi in 2009 at Christ Church Addington and from then the love for basketball just grew. I ended up attending the trials for the junior team at my primary school (Addington Primary School) in which I made the team and provincial U13 team. It was there that I was introduced to an organization called Peaceplayers International SA. I participated in the Primary School Program (PSP) for all of my Primary school years and got a great opportunity to further my studies at Durban High School.

I carried on working hard, that hard work did pay off when I earned a full scholarship to attend Durban High School which is the best basketball school in the southern hemisphere it felt like a dream cause just yesterday I ran away from death in my country to this upcoming basketball player with a bright future. At DHS I excelled in basketball because now I had something that made me feel alive again and played for every top side in each age group till I made it on the first team at age 14, making me the youngest player on the team.

Archange with other PPI-SA coaches at a team building camp.

Played for 4 years on the 1st team and captained it twice, during that 5 years of high school I made the provincial (junior and senior) basketball team as well as grabbing attention from great varsities in south African and one of them being Vaal University of technology.

I grew up with PPI-SA and never lost contact with this amazing organization, even when I went on to DHS. When I completed my matric, I knew I wanted to give back to the organization that gave me so much. So I applied to be a coach, and now I mentor and coach 24 amazing children from Gardenia Primary School in Wentworth. I can not wait to see what my future awaits but I know with hard work and discipline, I will continue to succeed.

“Lets The Games Begin!”- PPI-SA Starts Term 2!

This past week, at PeacePlayers International South Africa, saw the beginning of term 2. After a short break from school, it was evident at the games that were hosted this past Friday, that the participants were re-energized and ready for the term ahead.

Adington and Gardenia Primary School Girls at DHS.

The games this week, were two separate extravaganzas. One was hosted at Durban High School, an affluent high school in Musgrave, and the other in Umlazi Sports Complex, in the township of Umlazi. The extravaganzas are a great opportunity for more than 2/3 schools to travel outside of their community and experience a new community. At DHS, the schools that participated there were:

  • Bantuvukani Primary School – from Lamontville
  • Gardenia Primary School- from Wentworth
  • Sekelani Primary School – from Umlazi
  • Addington Primary School- from City

The games amongst these schools were exciting and full of loud cheering from their teammates. Bantuvakani Primary School girls team proved to be the strongest team there, as they won all the games. The Addington Primary School boys teams also won all their games, and were always cheered on by a improving girls teams.

In Umlazi, the schools that participated there were:

  • Sukuma Primary School – from Umlazi
  • Excelsior Primary School- from Lamontville
  • Carrington Primary School- from Umbilo
  • Collingwood Primary School – from Wenworth

    Coach Sma coaching Carrington Primary Boys.

This extravaganza was also nothing short of exciting. The games started with fun icebreakers that got all the participants cheering and singing, whilst making new friends. The competition was tight and games ended with close scores.

Overall the extravaganzas were a great success, and have really set the tone for the year.

More upcoming events that will take place this term are as follows:

  1. The 28th City Wide Tournament – 3 June 2017
  2. Six participants from PPI-SA will be travelling to Cyprus for the Lead4Peace Camp.
  3. Leadership Development Programme Career Day

Be sure to look out for upcoming events on the South Africa Facebook page!!

PPI-SA Introducing Our Coaches: Thandekile “TT” Thusi

Coach TT in action

This weeks blog is written by PPI-SA coach Thandekile “TT” Thusi. TT has been with PPI-SA as a participant and now coach for over 10 years. She has gone through so much and has risen above all the tribulations in her life. TT is the epitome of strong young woman in sport that are doing amazing work in the communities.

Being a part of PeacePlayers International South Africa (PPI-SA) has changed my life for the better. I never thought I would see my dreams come true. My journey with PPI-SA started back in 2006, when I was in grade four at Khuthala Primary School in Umlazi L-Section. I had no idea basketball existed, until one day, when I was walking home from school and I noticed a few of the older boys in my community bouncing a basketball heading towards Cwebezela Primary School. I was so fascinated; I followed them to see what they were going to do. That day, I watched their whole practice, and saw how they were having so much fun…I also had fun watching them. From that day, I would watch every single practice.

It was Coach Mhligo, who later invited me to practice with the younger children in 2007. I quickly learnt the sport as I was eager to learn every practice, and wanted to have fun like those boys I saw in 2006. Back then, I also had a temper, and had a really bad attitude towards my family and friends. Basketball helped me to learn respect, discipline and to fix my attitude. I became a happier child, and I respected my teachers and parents. I respected and valued my coach so much, because of the impact he had on my life. It made me desire to be a coach one day.

A few years later, my parents moved my family and I to another area in Umlazi (F-Section), far away from where I was playing basketball in high school. The move was tough for me because that meant I would no longer play basketball, I had to make new friends and start a new life. From there my decision making got worse; I started to hang out with a gang, to fit in. I smoked drugs, got into fights at school, bunking school and eventually not going to school at all. The gang I was part of was dangerous and was known for having a rivalry with another gang. The violence between the gangs became worse and worse, where our families were now in danger too. The police also knew all our names, and were looking for us. It was then my parents decided to move us again. We moved back to Umlazi L-Section, and I never saw my gang friends ever again.

From right, Coach TT at the 25th City Wide Tournament and PPI-SA participants.

When we moved back to Umlazi, I was in a bad space with my family. They did not trust me anymore, and I had to earn their respect and trust again. I decided to do a self-introspection. I tried to remember that respectful happy girl who played basketball. I joined basketball again, and had a new coach, coach Ntobeko. He gave me a chance to prove myself. I finished high school, and applied to be a coach at PPI-SA. Things starting falling into place even more. I never thought I would study further, and now I am in my second year of studies towards a Diploma in Public Management at Mangosuthu University of Technology.

I am always getting opportunities, through PPI-SA, to learn more as a coach and community leader. This past week, I attended the Premier Skills Coaching Camp, where I met so many other coaches from around South Africa. We learnt so much from each other because we were all sharing ideas, coaching styles and weaknesses. I can’t wait for the second level of the training.

Some of the PPI-SA coaches who attended the Premier Skills Coaching Camp.



PPI-SA Introducing Our Coaches: Sfiso “Knees of Thunder” Mthembu

This week we continue with our series on “Introducing our Coaches” with the story of PPI-SA veteran Sfiso “Knees of Thunder” Mthembu. His story is the true epitome of not allowing your surroundings dictate the course of your life. We are so proud of Sfiso, and hope you can gain a positive life lesson from his story.

Sfiso receiving his certificate of completion of the basketball coaching camp in the states from Kelli Davis from US Department State.


My name is Sifiso Mthembu, I’m 29 year old. I grew up in Richards Bay Skhawini and now stay in Molweni, Durban. In 1998, a life changing experience happened to me. I was hanging around the wrong group of people, who would steal anything they could get their hands on. One night, we stole my grandfathers car, and we were in a serious car accident which left me in a wheelchair for 6 months. I remember that day clearly, the doctor told I could not  run or play sports ever again. I was in a wheelchair for 6 months, and took medication everyday.

In 2003, I moved to Molweni to live with my mom. I was on treatment, and every time I tried play soccer I would feel pain around my hips, so I stopped. One day, my neighbour Dallas, invited me to come watch him coach basketball. It was my first time seeing this sport, and what stood out to me was that the court is smaller than a soccer pitch. At that moment, I told myself I could DO IT. Then I tried playing, it was very painful in the beginning, until I got used to the pain, and a few months later, the pain stopped. I continued playing all throughout my high school years, and when I completed my matric/ Grade 12, I decided to apply to be a PPI-SA coach and give back to my community.

I have been with PPI-SA since 2008, making my way up the ranks. From being a participate, to coaching and now being Area-cordinator for Umlazi. For approximately 5 years, I have also been coordinating and managing an independent basketball programme in Molweni, and that really taught me a lot about myself, and I learnt persistence and hard work.

Sfiso ( holding basketball) in action.

The most memorable opportunity  I was given at PPI SA was going to USA for an exchange program and to Turkey for a Junior Morals Program basketball camp. It is here, where I had to learnt to coach in Turkish, Serian and English, with the help of translator. I had a strong bond with the kids and they called me “coach Sufuso” and took thousands of selfies with me .They were thankful and inspired.

PPI-SA Area-coordinators 2017.

When I look back and think about that moment in the hospital with the doctor, and if someone told me I would one day travel to the States or Turkey, I would have not believed them. That it why I will forever be grateful for what PPI-SA and Dallas did for me that day I went to watch that practice. Something inside me sparked again, even though the odds were against me, I believed in myself again. I am now a different person, from that naughty boy in Skhawini, to a leader, a youth developer, a community leader and driven to do even more great things for myself and my community.


PPI-SA – Introducing Our Coaches: Thobani Ngubane

Last week we heard from Thando Msweli, our very own “selfie queen”, Laureus YES Expert and area-cordinator. But we thought you should have the opportunity to meet ALL our coaches, so the series  is making a comeback. Every week you will hear from another one of our 22 amazing coaches. Today, we hear from one of the newest additions to PPI-SA’s coaching staff – Thobani Ngubane. Thobani was also a part of the Laureus YES Programme, which is a great achievement for a first year coach. Thobani is also a past LDP participant.  His an outgoing bright young man, who is making noise in Durban, and in his community. Here’s his story about how he joined PPI-SA and his reflections on the Laureus YES Camp.

Thobani having breakfast with Laureus Ambassador Deshun and Merecedes Benz Manager Margaret.

My name is Thobani Ngubane and I am 21 years old. I was born and raised in uMlazi L- Section . Last year, I matriculated from Vukuzakhe High School and I also played for the Umlazi West Community Team.  In 2013, for the first time, I was introduced to PPI-SA, by my friend who invited me to a practice. I never stopped playing after that day.

Thobani (far left) at last years City Wide Tournament.

It was my coaches TT & Janda who really made an impact on me to decide to apply to be a coach at PPI-SA this year. I was already volunteering in other sports at my high school, such as netball and cricket. So when the opportunity came for me to join PPI-SA again this without having to be a participant I was so excited. What I love the most about  being a coach is working with the kids and empowering them with life skills that can help them make social change in their school and community. I know how my coaches helped me change my life and become a better person, and now I want to do the same for others.

The Laureus YES Camp was such a surprise to me. I did not know what to expect. But, I don’t regret applying, because I learnt so much about myself. I met other young leaders from across South Africa, which was great. After I left the camp, I learnt something very important. Resilience. I came out stronger and knowing myself more. Another highlight was going on the Cape Wheel at the V& A Waterfront. The views of Cape Town were beautiful and I will always cherish that moment.

PPI-SA Area Coordinator,Coach Thando, Talks Laureus YES 2017

Thando doing what she’s best know for on Chapman’s Peak

This weeks blog features an interview on Thando Msweli, one of the most experienced coaches at PPI-SA. Famously known as the “selfie queen”, Thando is having a great year so far. She just returned from the week long Laureus Youth Empowerment (YES) Programme Camp that was held in Cape Town this past week. Below she shares with us her experience at the camp as a Laureus YES Expert.

When did you first join the Laureus YES programme?

I joined the Laureus Yes programme in 2014 as a protégé. I didn’t know much about Laureus but little did I know it was going to be one of the greatest things to happen to my life. In 2015 I was invited back to be a pioneer, which encompassed mentoring the protégés and also growing personally through a number of skills development trainings.

The laureus YES Programme equipped me with some of the skills I possess today. It has been a great experience and a great platform to find more opportunities. Finding a new home with people who share similar life goals as you and people who work as hard as you are one of the fulfilments of YES.

What were your expectations going into this year’s camp?

Going into the camp this year I was ready and excited to start yet another chapter with Laureus. I knew I was being given a platform to shine and showcase all that I’ve learnt and gathered throughout the years working with Laureus, my expectations were exceeded. The past week, being with people who have fallen but have risen and use their stories to inspire others, has been amazing.

What was your role at this year’s camp?

At the 2017 Laureus YES camp, I was an Expert, which involved facilitating a few sessions for the protégés, mentoring and finding my own personal journey. I would facilitate small group sessions with protégés which encompassed us mentoring, listening and guiding them throughout the entire training. We were like their team leaders, people they could look up too and talk too on a professional or personal level. We are a family above all.

Thando and a few leaders sharing a moment with Laureus SA Chairman and Laureus Global Academy member, Morne du Plessis.

What have you learnt about yourself as well as a leader in your own right, at this year’s camp?

The programme has had such a positive impact in my life within the sporting arena and outside sport. It has taught me to have a growth mind-set, always thinking forward and positively. The trust and support from the programme has made me more confident in myself and has made me a go-getter. It has taught me to grab all opportunities and run with them because I have the power to do anything I put my mind and heart into.

Thando facilitating a workshop.

What can you take back with you that you can use in your role as AC?

Through all the trainings that I’ve done with Laureus, they are all relevant for my everyday life including the AC role I am currently in. it has taught me that we all have different opinions and views and it’s always essential that you respect another’s views. It has taught me better communication, to express myself confidently in the right, proper manner, seeing that I am the mode of communication between staff and coaches. It has also played a role in how I critically and logically address situations faced with in the work space. Overall the level of confidence I have gained throughout this experience is definitely something I’d want to share with my coaches. Lastly branding myself, it is essentially that you are aware of how you brand yourself as a person, as a leader and as a role model.

We are so proud of Thando, and the way she represented PPI-SA. Whats more, Thando has been invited to attend the upcoming United Nations Sport for Development Youth Camp in Sweden. She is going to be attending as a member of the elite Alumni that were invited.

PPI-SA Programming Is Underway

Today’s blog is written by PPI-SA Marketing and Fundraising Manager Sbahle Mkhize about kicking off 2017 programming!


We are three weeks into try outs and the participants have been in full attendance. The aim of the try outs is for the coaches to select the 24 boys and girls that will be participating in the programme for 2017. It’s no easy task as the coaches have to select 24 children out of 50 plus children. With the assistance of the school representative, the coaches select their team.

This year sees a new addition to the PPI-SA family. Gardenia Primary School in Austerville have joined the programme this year. The partnership makes sense because the school was looking for innovative ways to provide their learners with quality sport activities at the lowest costs for parents. We are so excited for this partnership and look forward to seeing the children benefit from our programme.

PPI-SA 2017 Coaches

PPI-SA 2017 Coaches

Furthermore, a number of schools from last year, are still a part of our programme. Including LIV Village, Glenmore Primary School, and the reigning champions Cwebezela Primary School. In total we have 21 teams/schools in our programme this year.

Events and games are set to start on the 15th of March among schools. This years calendar is jam packed with exciting events ahead, so look out for more blogs, pictures and posts from PPI-SA soon!