Kolisi Foundation’s launches the ‘Siyaphakama’ Zwide Schools Project.

The ‘Siyaphakama’ Zwide Schools Project is the Kolisi Foundation’s inaugural Education and Sports Development project.

This project is named after co-founder Siya Kolisi and his mother, Phakama. ‘Siyaphakama’ means “We Are Rising.” The project seeks to address the multitude of challenges facing township youth by creating a tailor-made programme to address physical education, nutrition, academic education, life skills and youth employment. ‘Siyaphakama’ is a collaborative initiative between the Kolisi Foundation, Ubuntu Pathways, United Through Sport, and KaziBantu, with a mission to help develop healthy, active, emotionally, and academically stronger children while contributing to the broader development of the Zwide Community and beyond – creating pathways for both sporting and education success.

Co-Founders Rachel and Siya Kolisi have passionately expressed the importance of ensuring children have access to sport and education development: “Sport teaches discipline and accountability. It helps us build trust and teamwork. It’s a space where you can engage with young people and where they get to see positive role models.”

Six Zwide schools have been identified in materialising the vision set by Rachel and Siya and will be supported on an ongoing basis as part of the Kolisi Foundation Education and Sports flagship project. The six schools are: Emsengeni Primary School (Siya’s primary school), Isaac Booi Primary School, Daniels Lower Primary, Sithembile Junior School, Garret Primary School and Ubuntu Pathways Primary School.

The project has secured full funding for 2022 with several key strategic partners including TotalEnergies Marketing South Africa, KFC Add Hope, Freedom of Movement, and adidas, making this a truly collaborative project.  The four key implementing partners on the project – Ubuntu Pathways, United Through Sport, KaziBantu and Kolisi Foundation – are working extremely hard on creating pathways for both sporting and education success.

Fezeka Mzalazala-Tyutyu, Ubuntu Pathways Community Outreach Manager reflects on this collaborative partnership and expressed: “In the 23 years that Ubuntu has served the townships of Gqeberha, we’ve never had a partnership quite like Siyaphakama. It is a collaboration based on collective listening to the needs of our community and a coordinated response to serve the most urgent needs. Together, we are helping to ensure a child’s birthplace does not determine their future. Together, we are rising.”

Project partner United Through Sport recruited youth from surrounding areas, who were then trained by KaziBantu to be Sport Coordinators. Two Sport Coordinators have been placed at each school in the project, where they oversee daily Physical Education lessons and after-school sports. The Siyaphakama interschool sports league kicked off in August, and 500 supporters attended the first rugby match between two of the schools. The weekly sports league has been a highlight of the project as schools compete against each other in Rugby, Soccer and Netball. In October, an interschool Sevens Rugby Tournament will run which will include schools in the Siyaphakama Project as well as other schools within the wider Zwide area.

“The Siyaphakama project is revolutionary, in our communities. Seeing its effect firsthand on the children, the schools and the surrounding community has been remarkable. It is giving children, not just the opportunity to play but the opportunity to dream. It’s about access and opportunity meeting.” states Athenkosi Mayinje, Programme Manager at United Through Sport.

In addition to Physical Education lessons and the interschool sports league, project partner Kazibantu conducted a short learning programme with 60 Foundation Phase teachers in September. The training equips teachers with the tools to facilitate Physical Education lessons and to integrate a range of physical education activities into their classrooms. The KaziKidz teaching material is a groundbreaking resource freely available online to teachers around the country. The first training had teachers moving and helped them understand the importance of physical activity – for both teachers and learners.  “The Siyaphakama Zwide Schools Project is about giving back to our communities in Nelson Mandela Bay. We have the opportunity to engage with both the learners and the teachers to foster healthy schools that not only benefit the learners and their teachers, but also the surrounding communities.” says Danielle Dolley, South African Project Coordinator for the KaziBantu Project.

In the fourth term of 2022, children will be participating in athletics and street cricket in an inter-house sports competition at each school. The aim is to include as many different sporting codes in Physical Education as possible and to expose children to sports that they previously would not have been exposed or had access to.  “The beauty of the Siyaphakama Project is that it was created in collaboration. It was a collective dreaming, planning and now, doing. As we do the work, the community continues to shape the way we do it so that these programmes fit this community and not the other way around.” says Alison Claassen, Education and Sport Programmatic Coordinator at the Kolisi Foundation.

Watch the official launch video below:


For more updates on the Siyaphakama Zwide Schools Project, please visit www.kolisifoundation.org

Remember the one, one by one.