Impact: How Tapiwa beat the bullies the CoolPlay way

Tapiwa is 13 years old and attends Kuils River Primary. He was born in Zimbabwe where he lived with his grandmother and father. When his grandmother passed away he moved to South-Africa and started attending school at Durbanville Primary.

"At first I didn't feel welcome at all . Some boys started calling me names and that hurt my feelings. After two years I changed schools and that's where I started attending Kuils River Primary. I expected to make new friends and not to be called names, but I was wrong."

At the end of the first term he decided to join the CoolPlay program, hoping to learn how to play the sport and make friends.

"When I got to rugby practice I saw all the boys that called me names were also there. At first I didn't want to take part in the sessions but Coach Damion approached me and asked me what was wrong. When I told him about my situation he said he will sort it out. He explained to all of us what CoolPlay does and how it will help us. He paired us up into groups and I noticed that I was in the group of the boys who called me names. He told us to build a human pyramid, one of the CoolPly games where you can see that that a team is only strong if the foundation is strong and that we, as teammates, can't play this sport without each other."

"The second term started and I was expecting to be called names but I was surprised that the rugby boys invited me to be their friend and to sit with them at breaks. Me and the boys who called me names started to become best of friends and this is all because of Coach Damion and the CoolPlay material. The games helped me with my school work also, at first my Afrikaans was not good but with the help of coach Damion I achieved my goal of improving.

The rugby sessions helped me so much that I was selected to go for WP-Trails and I made it to the last round but unfortunately I fell out. At first I was very upset but then I remembered that Coach Damion told us that if we fail in something to never give up and I made up my mind up to just work harder and try again next year.

I want to thank Coach Damion for all his support ,guidance and leadership. I also would like to thank Mr.Manuels and CoolPlay for coming to the school.  I want to end off with the words of the late Nelson Mandela that 'sport has the power to change the world.'

Scott SloanComment
Women's Month: Help our girls feel more #ComfortablyConfident
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DID YOU KNOW in South Africa, of the Olympic athletes receiving support in 2015, only nine out of the 30 athletes (30%) were women. Though raw facts are hard to find, according to the Dept of Sport and Recreation strategic plan for 2020, current participation levels of women and girls at grassroots level is “particularly poor, with few opportunities for females to participate in sport at schools and clubs." There are a number of reasons:

  • Safety and transportation issues. 
  • Social stigma: idea that girls time should be better spent by helping in the home and not playing games, boys play games.
  • Cost: many cannot afford the most basic necessity to feel comfortable whilst playing sport - a sports bra.

Yet, did you know that:

  • High school girls who play sport are less likely to get pregnant. 
  • Girls playing sport are more likely to do better in school and to finish matric than girls who do not play sports.
  • Girls who play sport have higher levels of confidence, which can lead to lower levels of depression and risky behaviours.

COOLPLAY is working with almost 500 girls across Cape Town to help transform their lives and achieve their goals in sports, education and life. We provide girls with a life skills curriculum and safe space to play as a team. Through rugby and netball, girls build their self esteem and find value in their own accomplishments. Our program helps girls stay in school, avoid risky behaviour and build meaningful lives on their own terms.

In early 2018, CoolPlay Area Manager Esther Sampson and CoolPlay Champions Nokulunga Mvandaba, Grace Mapfumo, and Feziwe Payi noticed that girls didn’t feel comfortable participating on the sports field without supportive underwear and that they usually felt self conscious or distracted. When they spoke to the girls they discovered that only 40% had the financial means to wear one and only 60% of the girls in their programs actually have any kind of bra. 

For CoolPlay to make lasting change we need girls who feel confident and secure coming to our sessions and applying the life lessons they learn through sport on the field and off it. If girls commit to CoolPlay it means better academic results, better decision making, the ability to dismiss negative peer pressure which ultimately leads to successes in life. Please support CoolPlay in our campaign to provide 300 sports bras to girls across our programs.

To support us go to and donate! Otherwise please contact to find out how else you can assist!

Scott SloanComment
EduCool Sports Day 2018

The 21st June 2018 was a very special day in our partnership with Education Connection, who we have been working with in the Cape Agulhas region of the Overberg since 2016. In those two years we have seen and experienced much fruit in the development of young children using sport as a tool and platform of influence.

For the second year, we have organised and hosted a successful U/13 Rugby and Netball sports day with children attending from CoolPlay programs all across the Cape. In 2017 18 teams attended with impact on 400 children. This year's event was no different as CoolPlay travelled with 100 children to take part in the day long festivities. Watch the video to see how it went!

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Impact: How QUIT doesn't fly with Sinesihle
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Sinesihle plays netball at Masiyele High School in Khayelitsha. She says “since Coach [Nokulunga] become part of my school or my life, she is my inspiration that no matter how hard the situation is I'm gonna push through. I have learned from her that the word "QUIT" doesn't fly, that being myself is important, reaching my goal is a way forward. Even if I'm starting to have doubts I ask myself who am I to quit? I have learned from her how to communicate, treat others with respect, how to be a better student and a unstoppable player. Coach always reminds me, 'you are who you are, see your goals as knowledge, and pursue your dreams.' I have become confident and risk taking. I can do anything that I put my mind to and believe in myself.”

Scott SloanComment
Impact: Hear how Claudia turned her anger into forgiveness

Claudia Mans is a 17 years old at Sarepta High School. Here is her story:

I would like to share with you about how CoolPlay and netball changed my life. I started with Netball last year, and at first I was a bit hopeless - sometimes sport codes at the school just stop but CoolPlay soon showed me that they are here to stay.

Before I started with the program I had a huge anger problem, I would snap for just anything, reason is that I come from a background where I have to fight for whats mine and I must protect myself. I am person who does not trust people easily but then again Coolplay showed me how to trust and to care for others.

Coolplay came with an angle that turned my life around. I remember when Coach Luke told us about the “Do over”. He said in life we all make mistakes but the big question is how we change our mistakes into success. Well I thought about what he said and it made me think, if I never forgive myself and put my mistakes in the past ill never go forward in life as a person, and that is when I told myself anything is possible. He also taught us that life is more then just playing Netball it’s about setting goals and having the right values, what we do on the court we should do off the court. I really look up to coach Luke his like a father/brother/Hero to me. He keeps his word and always opens up to us. He knows when we are sad or even in a bad mood, and how he has the ability to make us happy is just awesome.

So Coolplay thank you for what you have done here at Sarepta High, I hope that this is just the beginning and that we will have more memories to share and we say here at the school THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

Scott SloanComment
Stedman Gans of the Blitzbokke joins CoolPlay as an Ambassador

Gans, our first official rugby Ambassador, joined the South Africa Sevens' Academy at the end of 2016, and played for the team at the 2016 Dubai Sevens. In February 2017, he was named as an official reserve for the national sevens team for the 2017 USA Sevens tournament and a week later he was promoted to the main squad for the 2017 Canada Sevens in Vancouver.

Stedman is passionate about changing lives through sport and says "I firmly believe that sport has the power to change lives. I also believe in responsibility towards our immeadiate surroundings. And that responsibility is not only to not do bad but to do good when presented with the possibility. Live your best life!' We are so thankful that Stedman is choosing to do good with us!

He has a bright future ahead of him and we look forward to following him on his rugby journey! He recorded a special message for CoolPlay, which you can see here!

Scott SloanComment