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2015-07-02 06:00

Banetsi Mphunga is taking his psychological practice to another level, by offering services inside his iCaracara
Mandla Mahashe

Banetsi Mphunga is taking his psychological practice to another level, by offering services inside his iCaracara PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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A Khayelitsha psychology graduate has been making waves for using the much loved iCaracara minibus to bring his counselling services to young people eKasi.

Banetsi Mphunga, 28, is a registered counsellor from Makhaya Section whose vision is to bring the much needed services to Khayelitsha.

Mphunga graduated at The University of Western Cape in 2013 but has been working within youth development programmes in Khayelitsha since 2012.

It was during this time, working for the Think Youth Academy, that he noticed a dire need for counselling services for young children in the townships.

“During the sessions we often saw emotions manifesting themselves while they were in groups. A lot of children in our communities are dealing with a lot of issues with many of them resulting from domestic problems.

They do not have a way to release that tension, which is why there is so much violence in our schools and why young children are often found at taverns,” Mphunga told City Vision.

He said that these emotions, which were revealed in group sessions, needed private and personal attention.

““They always manifested in front of other children and I have to constantly intervene. I enquired from my educator friends, principals and school kids about why they are not making use of psychological services and counsellors in schools. This is where I discovered that in order to get psychological assistance, they had to wait for weeks to be attended to by someone from the Department of Education, because they didn’t have counsellors at school. So I thought starting a practise could help the community,” he said.

He said he felt compelled to do something and he decided to open his own practice.

“I’m hoping to reach young children at the primary and high school levels. I found that many of them were struggling with domestic and social issues,” he said. In May this year, he made the big step of taking all his savings of R28 000 and bought a Volkswagen Caravelle minibus.

“It’s a popular car in the townships and is much loved by the young people. I am hoping to break the stigma associated with a clinical environment because young people have a phobia for clinical institutions,” Mphunga noted.

Going to see psychological help is often associated with insanity and weakness in eKkasi, he shared.

“So it will be much more comfortable for young people to hop in and easy for me to conduct a session. I plan to open a centre in Khayelitsha which will then host sessions after that fear has been overcome by our young people,” he said.

He is currently in the process of registering his NGO which he hopes will help will build the Cape Township Children and Parents Counselling Centre.

He hopes to have centres across the country and iCaracara in every province providing space for sessions.

Mphunga is hoping to receive financial assistance as he has been running a decorations and wedding planning business but has had to put that aside to work on his voluntary services.

He said he needed around R 10 000 to refurbish the minibus to make it more comfortable for his patients.

Mphunga said he is working on getting funding for the van but regardless, meanwhile, he will continue to offer mobile psychology clinic in August and it will serve as a referral agent to rehabilitation centres

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