Youthzones

Creating a better Mzansi through sport and development

It might sound strange, especially to Europeans, if I say that yesterday I played football with young killers. However, the moment you learn that this is a name of a football team in Siyabuswa and that the killing refers to football related performance, everything becomes a little more comforting. The name is ironic though. Our programme aims to make South Africa safe, to reduce crime and to promote social justice, intercultural tolerance and a positive choices for young people. It is funny that the teams I encounter and work with has names like Young Killers, which in RSA is cool. Or take the Gunners from Phuthaditjhaba: their emblem is not a historic cannon like Arsenal, it is two pistols- disconcertingly familiar. I can see the crime obsessed foreign press reporting on a knock out game between the Gunners and Young Killers!

Now, many bad things happen in Mzanzi, but giving people the benefit of the doubt is a discipline we have to enact daily, for the sake of others, but more so, for our own sake. Many whiteys might be scared to approach Young Killers on their turf, but once you show faith, show trust; you get surprised to see that the 'killers' are really life givers! Youngsters full of passion, jokes, friendship and compassion. So much boils down to perception and these kids in Siyabuswa affirmed again that just because I don't know someone yet, it does not mean that he is not my brother.

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