"I'm still a peaceplayer today"

Coach Menzi's Journey Through PeacePlayers and Beyond

November 17, 2021

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In celebration of PeacePlayers’ 20th Anniversary, we have had the pleasure of catching up with several “former” PeacePlayers. We have learned where their lives have taken them since their time with PeacePlayers, and how they’ve taken PeacePlayers into their careers, professional lives, interests and hobbies as they’ve moved through the world. 

Q: Where do you currently live?

Umlazi, South Africa

Q: What was your role at PeacePlayers South Africa and how long were you involved?

I started as a coach, went up to being a manager for my area Umlazi and then from then onwards, I started leading the Leadership Development Program. I was involved from 2002 to 2012.

Q: What’s been going on in your life since PeacePlayers?

I'm a television technician now, so my job requires a lot of my time, but whenever I get free time, I go around and coach [with PeacePlayers]. I'm still involved with them. Most of the people who are coaches and area managers, when they were in primary school, I used to coach them, and now they are coaches! Some of them are coaches, others are managing. They are close, close friends of mine. Sometimes they have to come to me for advice and stuff like that.

Q: How have you brought PeacePlayers into your current profession and professional life?

I’m still a PeacePlayer today. To be a PeacePlayer is to be an agent of change. You cannot change the world; you cannot change a lot of people's minds, but you can actually make them understand a lot of what life is really all about. When I was teaching kids about life skills, about bridging divides, all of those things, I told them that this is an education that's going to drive you in life. You might be a doctor, you might be an engineer, you might be another thing, but as soon as you take this information that I'm giving you, you will prosper in life. Most of them today are doctors. One wonderful kid I used to coach wants to be a pilot. I think, being a PeacePlayer is trying to make the kids understand that you can actually dream of anything in life as long as you put your mind [to it] and your mind is clear about what you want in life, and then those dreams will come true.

Q: What’s your favorite PeacePlayers story? 

There was one story where we went to an elderly home with about 20 kids to run through and help the elderly. We said, “Okay, you can go and do whatever you can to help, go ahead and help.” So we started cleaning up, and then making breakfast for the elderly and doing all the things that the elderly would expect from a kid at home. So there's this one grandmother. She literally cried. She said, “I wish my granddaughter or my grandson could actually be as good as this kid.” I asked them “Why?” She said, “To see a kid coming up to me and asking me, ‘Are you okay?’ ‘Can I make you breakfast?’ ‘can I do this?’” They don't get that at their home, so [PeacePlayers’ young leaders] can actually give that to them. Our kids know that we have to respect the elderly, and then we can give them the love that they have, that they're not going to be here for so long. That actually impacted and taught me a lot. I am doing something even though it's one person.

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