Merry Christmas
posted by Oli Walsh on 16 December 2009
The tree!
The tree!
Dear All
Just to wish you all a Merry Christmas.
Time has flown by since I arrived in March and the amount that the WhizzKids team has achieved in this year is incredible with such a small team.
Enjoy your break whatever you are doing, with our staff and volunteers scattering far and wide for their break.
It still does not feel like Christmas here, might have something to do with it being 25 degrees and not having Christmas songs on the radio every two minutes! We are still trying to create that festive spirit, so hope you like the picture of our Christmas tree in the volunteer house!
Here is to an even better 2010, helping more and more kids and of course looking forward to, the opening of our Health Academy and of course the World Cup.
Oli
Centre Opening and Tournament
posted by Oli Walsh on 11 December 2009
The WhizzKids United Team!
The WhizzKids United Team!
So Saturday saw the start of the tournament! Despite all the other activities during the week, this is what the kids had been looking forward to the most, and the opening was the reason that FIFA had invited us all to Khayelitsha.
We set off in the morning, all dressed in our new bright red WhizzKids United kit, which had been kindly donated by adidas. We were shuffled into our seats to watch the official opening by Sepp Blatter surrounded by a load of VIPS before watching some cultural performances by local kids and a Life Skills demonstration.
We were second on against Team Namibia, but I was whisked off for a pre-match mediation with the first two teams. What an honour to mediate the first game, now I know how referees felt ahead of big games like the World Cup Final!
Each delegation supplied a young leader who had to mediate a game not involving their own teams. Each mediator held a pre match briefing with the two teams to emphasise fair play as there were no referees. Each team then had to decide on basic rules concerning throw ins, kick ins, where you could score from and whether they played corners. Then they decided on their own rules, with the Brazilians deciding to celebrate goals with the opposition! After each game the teams came together again, to discuss the game and to see, based on the game, whether they would award their opposition a fair play point. At the end of the tournament there would be a fair play prize and a winner, with fair play deemed the most important!
After my first mediation which was a fairly painless experience it was a quick dash to watch our WhizzKids who managed to beat Team Namibia 8-1, although this was a false dawn. In the remaining group stages, we drew one, lost four, but won two, including our highlight, a win against Brazil!!!
The team performed well in the group stage, although our kids were alot smaller than alot of the other teams, and while we had picked our teams on the most deserving rather than pure football ability, alot of the others seemed to have gone for the latter! It was definitely a challenge and great to see the kids playing in mixed gender teams. We just needed to ensure they passed to each other a bit more and did not take the losses so personally, but that is common in all kids! At least they followed all the fair play guidelines and made alot of friends both on and off the pitch with Lonwabo from Lamontville the star, scoring undoubtedly what was goal of the tournament; a shot from his own half that cannoned in off the underside of the bar!
In the Quarter Finals we were drawn against Altus sport, who we will be sharing a delegation with for Festival 2010. Unfortunately this was to be our last match, but at least we can take heart from the fat we lost to the eventual winners!
Then it was back to the school, to hold a closing ceremony, allowing the kids to sing and dance with their new found friends, exchange football shirts, hats and items from their own country, before an (early) night!
On Monday it was time to fly back. The kids had an amazing trip and were sad to leave their new rinds but think they were all glad to be going home to see their families and tell their friends about their once in a life time experience!
For the adults it was a chance to go home and get some rest. Let′s now get ready for Festival 2010 next year!
Insight into Cape Town trip - Pre tournament preparations
posted by Oli Walsh on 10 December 2009
Boarding a plane for the first time!
Boarding a plane for the first time!
The trip to Cape Town was a once in a lifetime for eight kids from the townships of Edendale and Lamontville. They were selected by their trainers for excellence throughout the programme and their attitude towards HIV issues, where we had seen some real behavioural change.
The trip started early with two trips co-ordinated with pick ups in Edendale and Lamontville to ensure they all got to the airport on time. It was their first trip to the airport for many, so once we had successfully negotiated security, it was time for them to get on their first ever aeroplane!
The kids were surprised by the speed at take off and then it was up into the air, with the kids pointing in disbelief and amazement that they were above the clouds! To see the joy and inquisitiveness on the kids’ faces was a real surprise, as plane travel is something that has become so normal in our everyday lives.
On arrival it was to the baggage carousel, again a totally new experience, before we were whisked through security to be met by George, the project coordinator for streetfootball world, who facilitate our membership of FIFA’s Football for Hope movement.
We were then whisked off to our base, a sports school just outside Cape Town and allocated our rooms, it was like bing back at univeristy! We had an informal welcoming with the teams followed by the draw for the tournament. The kids started to get to know their fellow delegations who had come from across South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia and Brazil. Brazil seemed to be the most popular with all delegations, with one girl resembling Ronaldinho! They spoke no English yet the kids found their own unique ways of communicating.
Wednesday was an early start, with a knock on the door at 5am from one of our delegation to borrow a ball for training! This was followed by a knock at 6am to return the ball! Then it was off to the Waterfront for some team building activities before returning to base for some fair play football training. Two of our delegation missed out as they atteneded a photography course facilitated by Sony, but more on this later. In the evening we were treated to a number of cultural performances, with a focus on traditional dancing from the respective regions. Our Zulu dancing in traditional dress went down a treat, and in my opinion was the best!
Thursday and Friday was a chance for the kids to see some of Cape Town. They had a tour of Khayelistha on Thursday morning, while our coach Nobuhle took part in a Coerver coaching course, and of course the Football for Hope Centre. Then it was off to Cape Point, where it was very windy but suitably stunning! In the evening they had an open discussion forum, with kids telling of their experiences with drink, drugs and of course HIV. The stories were very moving and brought some people in the room to tears.
On Friday it was off to Table Mountain for the kids to get their first trip in a cable car and get the best view in all of Cape Town. They spent alot of time taking pictures with the cameras kindly donate by Sony, of Camps Bay and Green Point stadium and more importantly with all their new friends! They then held a final training session led by all the teams coaches who were newly qualified Coerver coaches! Then it was off to be for the big day, the tournament!!!!
Please come back soon for a run down on the tournament!
Celebrations in a different way
posted by Matthias Kaspar on 4 December 2009
On Thursday (3rd December) I left Durban for a trip to Edendale very early at 5.30 am. I felt comfortable by changing my workplace for one day and getting out of the office. I joined Tom and Zanele who were supposed to give a speech at Henryville Primary School. The school organized a “World AIDS Day Celebration” and Tom and Zanele were among the guest speakers.
On our arrival we were brought in a room that was crowded with kids from Grade 1 till 7. Actually the event was planned to occur outside but due to the bad weather they had to gather in the small auditorium which had ‘Henryville Hotel’ written on the door in chalk. It was a nice picture to see such an amount of kids closed together in their school uniform looking curious about what was laying ahead.
The celebration started by singing a Zulu cultural song. I was impressed because everybody sang with great passion and enthusiasm- leading to an amazing sound. All together they created an impressive atmosphere.
The program of the celebration consisted of performances of kids each grades and speeches of guest speakers. The performances varied from telling poems, singing and acting to dancing to the music of Micheal Jackson “You are not alone.” All of them did very well, the result of likely a lot of practicing. The audience acknowledged their effort with loud applause.
After a while the speech of Tom and Zanele arrived. Tom was going to talk some parts of his speech in Zulu supported by Zanele. It was his first time speaking Zulu in front of such a big crowd. The performance became even more challenging for Tom when some kids started to laugh because they hadn´t listened to a Zulu-speaking Canadian guy yet. Tom remained confident and told the kids together with Zanele the meaning of belonging to teams in football as well as in life.
Along with WhizzKids United, representatives of Lifeline, Centre of Criminal Justice, Edendale Hospital as well as an HIV ambassador from Kenya were among the guest speakers. The performance of the woman of Edendale Hospital was most impressive. Instead of holding a speech she climbed on a chair so that everyone could see her. Then she started to sing and dance, I call it the “jika-jika-dance.” She engaged everybody to get up from their chairs and to get along moving. It was lovely to see everyone moving in the same way and having a lot of fun. She managed it to animate the crowd beyond comparison.
The celebration ends by singing the anthem of South Africa. I felt like I was getting a belated birthday song. Surprisingly a (birthday) present for me and all guests was still to come… a mug with the Henryville Primary School logo on it!

Happy Birthday Matthias!
posted by Stefan Kunze on 2 December 2009
Matthias Kaspar (24)
Matthias Kaspar (24)
Today is Matthias′ birthday. The entire WhizzKids United team wishes him all the best for his future and an enjoyable time with us, here in Durban. He turns 24 today, but he still looks a lot like 23.

Happy Birthday again to you, Matthias.
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