Driving Change Through Sport

Sipho Phiri


MUNICIPAL DISTRICT: City of Johannesburg

Activator since: 2012


What’s your passion?

Wellness, youth, my family. I am passionate about the development of men of all ages, in terms of their leadership roles in society and educating them to be good role models and responsible fathers. Passing on the message of what it is to be a man – leading by example, not only in their own houses but in their communities at large.

What change are you keen to drive?

I find it very important for young people to use sports facilities, because when sports facilities are accessible, young people will be more interested in participating in different sporting codes. By participating in sports, I believe young people can develop their social and communication skills. Teamwork, for example, is naturally learned through participating in team sports and games. Communication skills can really be honed and young people can also develop leadership skills, often discovering abilities that they never knew they had.

How are you driving change?

I am driving change through mentoring young football coaches in my community and seeking opportunities for them to enhance their coaching careers.  As a Wellness Coach, I organise coaching workshops for the coaches in my community so that they can enhance their current football knowledge. I believe that empowering coaches will enable them in having a positive impact on the lives of the kids that they engage with every day.

How has ACTIVATE! supported you so far in driving this change?

ACTIVATE has equipped me with tools that I use on daily basis, be it at work and in my community. ACTIVATE! also equipped me with knowledge through their Community Development Course which deepens your understanding and knowledge of community development practice and sharpen your skills, making you a more effective leader for public innovation.

How do you motivate yourself?

My kids drive me, my passion for developing people and my ability to know that I can do anything. I view myself as a change driver because a change driver is a person who is passionate about social development and they work first on transforming themselves before transforming others (through meaningful change in ourselves inspiring change in others).

You were interviewed under the topic, Sports Facilities on SABC 1’s education programme Walala Wasala. Why do you think you were chosen for this specific show? And what was highlighted on the programme?

I was chosen for the sports show because I am actively involved in sports in my community and my job title as a wellness coach adds value to the community work that I do in the community.

The show focussed on youth and local government, one of the topics was availability of parks and sports facilities for young people and most importantly, sports as an important tool in fighting social ills and grooming talent for the future.

How would you describe the experience?

The experience was amazing! I got an opportunity to learn more about my community and expose some of the good work that young people in my community are doing.

Final comment?

I am from Cosmo city, and I believe the government can use the open spaces in my community to build more sporting facilities so that all sporting codes can be accommodated. The government also needs to educate young people and the rest of the community on how they can access the facilities for usage.

Sport plays an important role in shaping young South Africans, because it provides an excellent pathway for young people to learn new skills, become more confident and maximise their own potential. Through participation they can have fun and enjoyment, learn and develop life skills, make new friends and experience life in a way that will enhance their personal growth throughout the course of their lives. These benefits will occur through a positive approach to the involvement of young people.  

Catch Sipho Phiri tonight on Walala Wasala. Tune in to SABC 1 @9pm.  

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