10/2/11Mbekweni Young Leaders attend Outward Bound course
As a reward for their dedication to social change in their community, 13 of our Young Leaders joined 20 other like-minded role models trained by SCORE, on an adventure through the mountains of Grabouw outside Cape Town, facilitated by Outward Bound.
Taking part in hiking, raft building and abseiling activities during the adventure week, members of the group were exposed to completely new and exciting challenges and experiences. Nande Mhlon from Mbekweni reflected on the hike “It was my favourite experience. We climbed 9 kilometres uphill. We would sing and stop, and sing and stop.” Meeting other inspiring youth from across the Western Cape Province, it gave leaders a chance to meet, share experiences of community building and learn from one another. “We didn’t know each other before and we learned how to survive together,” he continued.
6/5/11 SINAKO – Yes We Can!
“People used to discriminate against me because I am disabled. I could never play football but now I am playing with able bodied children too!”
Every Monday nineteen year old Andile Phampa walks to the Mbekweni Community Sports Centre near Paarl, in the Western Cape, to play football as part of the SINAKO (“We Can”) programme, organised by SCORE for children and youth with disabilities. “I’ve never played on a team before, this is the first time. Now people recognise me as being part of the community,” he continues.
Football is not the only sport on offer, but it’s the one he enjoys the most. “I’m sticking to football. I want to become a coach and teach other children.” At the Centre he has friends from across the Western Cape who, like him, come to play sport without prejudice or judgement.
Mbekweni Community Sports Centre aims to build stronger communities by using sport to provide children and youth with valuable skills and opportunities through programmes, like SINAKO. The programme has been designed to engage disabled learners to develop sports skills and promote social integration. At the first SINAKO festival held earlier this year, local learners from schools in Mbekweni were invited to come and support the disabled learners, to raise awareness of integrating disabled learners into structured sports sessions. Thandokazi Majozi, a teacher from Dorothea School in Stellenbosch, highlights the importance of this social exposure, “What struck me, is the way the kids enjoy themselves here. The children are not used to mixing, but it is so important!”
The children were also addressed by South African Gold Paralympic Medallist Zanele Situ, who touched on her own personal experiences of overcoming prejudice through sport. She said, “There are no barriers when you are playing sport. We can learn from each other…”
Through SCORE’s SINAKO programme Andile and his new friends are breaking down these barriers in their communities, making a difference both on and off the field.
5/8/11 Recognising women’s achievements in the community
“She is there for everyone in the community,” said nineteen year old Sapho Nofemela, one of thirty youth honouring “Auntie” Mirriam Toni for her contribution to change in Mbekweni. She joins many other women in communities across Southern Africa, recognised for their efforts and achievements through an initiative led by Sport and Development organisation SCORE, which continues beyond National Women’s Month, last month.
Sapho describes Mirriam as, “a woman who has opened up her house to take care of children who are without parents. She knows everyone in the community and everyone knows her. If you have a problem, you can go to her.”
It was for these reasons that the youth from around Mbekweni honoured her in a role play that was delivered to other youth from around the province, as part of SCORE’s Cup of Heroes competition. The multi skilled tournament involves youth showcasing their sport skills in football, netball and volleyball and demonstrating how to use the life and leadership skills they have learned through sport to help their wider community.
“Sometimes you do work in the community and you think ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ So when you are recognised, you know that you are,” said Mirriam after the Young Leaders paid her a visit.
Mirriam shares with SCORE the belief that sport can change lives and is also the founder of the Mbekweni All Stars football club, with teams for every age category, from u11 to u19. “Sport is important because it keeps children and youth off the streets,” she says. For the past year, her teams have trained at the Mbekweni Community Sports Centre, a state of the art indoor facility that opened in the community during the 2010 World Cup, thanks to the support of UK charity Hope Through Action.
The group of young sports leaders brought food parcels to say thank you to Auntie Mirriam, “She was so grateful that we are making a point to recognise what she is doing,” said Sapho.
Mirriam believes, “It’s important to have leaders in the community. When you deliver, you deliver the right things. I too am a leader, when I deliver, I want the children to do the same thing as me. I am planting seeds, giving water and watching them grow.”
Meanwhile in Namibia, the Cup of Heroes community team from Windhoek recognised former SCORE National Manager Jacqui Shipanga. “She is a women who is putting women’s football on the map!” said Queeny Muluta. Jacqui is now head coach of Namibia’s Women’s national football team and was appointed by FIFA as member of the technical study group at this year’s Women’s World Cup.
20/2/11English cricket club visit Mbekweni Community Sports Centre.
Mbekweni Community Sports Centre was privileged to welcome the London based Primrose Hill Cricket Club this month. The club, for boys and girls aged between 7 and 13 years, visited with their parents and teachers.
In a true African spirit our visitors were treated to Pantsula dancing, singing and entertainment. We also took them on a tour around the community. Futsal games were contested on the pitch between Primrose Hill and our Mbekweni teams, with both young and old joining in.
One of the visitors commented “As we left the sophisticated confines of Cape Town little did we appreciate the impact that our visit to Mbekweni would have on parents, coaches and players alike. The sport was played in a truly Corinthian spirit. It was remarked upon how well the Mbekweni boys conducted themselves on the pitch. The quality of their coaching was obvious to see and the desire of the Mbekweni kids to learn and improve their skills was evident throughout”.
We would also like to thank Primrose Hill Cricket Club for their kind donations which will enhance our sport development.
5/8/11 Youth encourage Mbekweni community to get moving!
Young sport leaders in Mbekweni have embarked on a four day door-to-door campaign to increase community involvement at the Mbekweni Community Sports Centre, as part of an outreach campaign.
Seventeen year old Sisanda Masila from Ihlumelo High School in Mbekweni is one of twenty young leaders who will go out into Mbekweni this weekend to talk to residents about the benefits that the facility can offer the community.
The state of the art sports facility has an artificial pitch, seating capacity for over 300 spectators, changing rooms and conferencing facilities. It opened just over a year ago during the 2010 World Cup and the centre continues the legacy of the event by engaging more community members to get active in sport and develop skills they can use away from the pitch. One of the centre’s most successful programmes is the Mbekweni Community futsal league. The 5-a-side indoor variation of football gives teams the opportunity to practice ball control in and smaller area and learn new rules to the popular sport which hails from Brazil. The league currently has twenty teams and is an opportunity for different community teams to meet and compete against other keen players. The centre also hosts community celebrations and sports festivals which encourage older members of the community to visit the centre and take part in activities.
Sisanda believes that engaging residents at the Mbekweni Community Sports Centre is a crucial step towards lowering the crime rates, “thanks to the sports centre, we have seen more people getting involved in sport and now there is no time to do nothing. Crime rates are lower and people take pride in the community.”
Offering coaching clinics and life skills development workshops for all groups in the community, SCORE hopes this campaign will increase participation and help develop more young leaders like Sisanda. “As young leaders we are recognised for doing the right things. We want to see more young leaders in our community helping youth make the right decisions.”
6/9/11 Mbekweni success at International Cup of Heroes competition
Team Mbekweni has finished an amazing 3rd place at the International Cup of Heroes competition, a superb result considering this was their first time at the international final and they were competing against eleven other teams, many seasoned campaigners.
The SCORE Cup of Heroes is a multi-skilled competition in which teams compete in three sports codes – netball, football and volleyball – as well as off the field activities that stretch the minds and imaginations of tomorrow’s future leaders. This year’s theme was “Youth changing the World”.
The team has spent months preparing for the competition, undertaking physical training, coaching clinics, researching and practicing their presentations, and doing community service in Mbekweni. Assigned Scotland as their ‘partner’ country, the team has learnt all about Scottish culture, traditions and cuisine, teaching themselves Scottish dancing, and even wearing kilts!
All their hard work has paid off. Having won the Western Cape regional competition at the start of August, the team made a 15 hour road trip to Johannesburg for the International final last weekend. For many of the team it was the first time they’d travelled outside the Western Cape and they used the long journey to build an even stronger team spirit. Winning both the boys and mixed football competitions, Mbekweni really were untouchable in football, a result their coach attributed to having the indoor centre to practice regardless of the weather conditions outside. They also won the “Own Culture” presentation competition, with an excellent and moving portrayal of the life of a young girl growing up and becoming a woman in their community.
SCORE Executive Director, Stefan Howells recognizes the team’s achievements, “Team Mbekweni did extremely well and were very impressive all round, especially considering this is their first time at the International Cup of Heroes”.
Well done and congratulations to Team Mbekweni!