Changing lives through sport

2016-09-13 06:00
Photo: NOSIPHO MKHIZESiyabathanda Abantwana Youth Organisation founder, Phumlani Ndwandwe.

Photo: NOSIPHO MKHIZESiyabathanda Abantwana Youth Organisation founder, Phumlani Ndwandwe.

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LIFE while growing up was not easy for Phumlani Ndwandwe (30). His family moved from one place to another because of political violence, and eventually ended up living in a squatter camp Chicago township near Pinetown where poverty was rife.

He said poverty and poor matric results made him realise he needed to do something positive with his life.
“I wanted to keep myself busy and get away from drugs, crime, poverty and depression. Many township youngsters were living without having any goals.
“I saw many people, who could not tolerate each other, form gangs and start unnecessary fights. So in 2007 I started to train young people in sport specifically basketball without realising I needed to form an organisation to support the initiative.”

In 2009 Ndwandwe quit his job as a retailer, and in 2010 started the Siyabathanda Abantwana Youth Organisation (Sayo).
“Sayo hosted many projects including sports programmes, practical life skills programmes and arts in schools.
“In 2012 eThekwini Municipality Grant-in-Aid funded the organisation and we bought laptops, a printer and a Wendy House to work in.

“That year we went into partnership with a American organisation called From the Roots. Its purpose is to uplift organisation founders in neglected communities. From the Roots also organised my trip to New York, Boston and Chicago to discuss a long-term partnership between both organisations.
“As Sayo we assist the youth to make smart decisions and provide the right path to success. First and foremost this must begin with the founders, management, the implementation team and participants. My visit to the U.S. is one of my success stories, it showed the starting point for transforming the youth within the organisation.

“In 2014 we formed a relationship with Sthandiwe Primary School and received basketball hoops and a monthly internet subscription from an organisation in Scotland called Jabulani Project.
“Sayo trains pupils in soccer and we have a coach who trains them three days a week and also organises games for them. Because the organisation has no money we can only compensate the coach from contributions from the chairperson and the treasurer.

“Our ultimate goal is to work with most of the schools in KZN by 2050 as a well-funded, township youth-driven, non-profit organisation.
“We appeal to individuals who have power, people who know people with power and the government to help us achieve crucial things that will impact on the lives of the children.”

For more information, phone 081 002 9037 or email

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