THE YOUTH ENGAGE IN SPORT ACADEMY
By: Ziningi Dlamini
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sports can create hope, where once there was only despair”.
This was one of former President Nelson Mandela’s favourite quote.
Councillor Mbuyiselwa Sibiya, came up with the idea of creating a sport academy called Lindelani Academy in 2014 to bring hope to the youth sinking in drugs.
The academy caters for boys and girls from the age of 10 to 19 years old.
Since the academy started it has obtained more than 52 players from all sections of Lindelani and has produced professional soccer players.
Wandile Zondo (14) had been playing soccer for under 15 since the academy started, with his great skills he had opened many doors for himself.
With the help of the academy he settled an internship from Amazulu, under 15 to study in one of the expensive sport boarding school, in Glenwood.
Coming from a place like Lindelani with a poor educational background and financially unstable home, he has found green pastures.
“All I think about is making my mother proud, I see myself bringing groceries for her and growing up to beat poverty and illiterate curse in my community,” said Zondo.
Zondo hopes that he will be able to represents his community at higher stages.
“I see myself playing for the professional team. I hope that my success will motivate the youth back in my community that there is nothing impossible with hard work,” concluded
The academy is a great way to assist in taking the youth off the streets.
Sibiya said that the community is very pleased with the academy.
“We started this academy with a mind-set of taking the youth off the street.
Since its implementation to the community, we’ve received a great response from the youth wanting to take part in the initiative and getting involved,” said Sibiya.
He added, “The community overall has been very supportive and they understand the meaning behind the implementation of this academy.”
The community of Lindelani is one of the most disadvantaged communities in Durban, especially when it comes to service deliveries but through sports some feel as if they have
found the sacred democracy they have always hoped for.
Lindelani youth enjoys the variety of sporting codes which they see as great way to reduce youth drug abuse in the area, keeping them away from succeeding and achieving their
“Our children don’t even make it out to high school, because they get exposed to drugs at a very young age.
I think this academy will help them in many ways. They will come back from school and go play sports,” said the community member Zama Ngcobo.
South Africans can be critical and in despair about sport, but the achievement and success of the country in sport since the first democratic elections in 1994 has been exceptional and
This achievement is not only for those individuals but for the small disadvantaged communities around the country. Many sport players come from the townships, this is a
motivation to other disadvantaged communities.
The academy has sports grounds that cater for rugby, Cricket and Soccer and looks to extend their codes and include the netball and basketball court.
The academy still struggles to recruit females to participate in sports, possible because most still have the mentality that sport was meant for males. With lack of women participation, the
academy looks to expand to cater for all genders.
Bongani Yengwa, who is the former Banyana Banyana assistant coach once said, “In order to improve our disadvantaged communities, we need to invest in youth development and make
sure that our youth from under 8-17 are being exposed to all sporting codes because trough sports, there is always freedom same as the one from democracy.”