Proof that our programme works!
posted by Oli Walsh on 29 November 2009
I hope you are all enjoying your Sunday evening.
I just wanted to share with you a recent experience with some of the kids from our programme, on a car journey back from Edendale, which reinforced to me, although anecdotally, that our programme is having an impact.
As one of our trainers is getting married next year, I asked the kids what age they thought would be a good age to get married! Most of the kids agreed on around 30, although one boy said 88, which was a bit excessive.
However, after this the conversation moved to see if any of them had boyfriends or girlfriends, which is obviously a pre-requisite to getting married. It was then that I had been discussing with one child that he had a girlfriend. Firstly I was surprised that he opened up to me to tell me that he was already sexually active, at the age of 15. While this is not uncommon, it was more the ease at which he opened up. He then went on to say that he had been sexually active, but since participating in the WKU programme, had taken the decision to no longer be sexually active and was abstaining. This had not affected his relationship adversely and he was still with the same girlfriend.
Let′s hope for more positive stories in the future!
Build up to Cape Town
posted by Oli Walsh on 27 November 2009
Traditional Zulu Dancing
Traditional Zulu Dancing
Marcus was away in Jo′burg this week, attending one conference on sport and social change, as well as another conference led by Love Life. We will get more feedback next week, but have received some positive feedback from him and hope it leads to new partnerships and increased learnings for the future. We all need to work together to combat HIV! We will have a full de-briefing on his return to ensure all learnings are shared with all office staff.
On Thursday we had our final training session before the kids trip to Cape Town, where we gave them their new boots, which they were delighted with! They had a training session in their new shoes, then practiced their traditional Zulu dancing to the entire office in full traditional dress! On the way home we took them to visit the new Moses Mahbida stadium, which opens on Sunday (we tried to get tickets but it was all sold out!) so please look at our photos section for more footage from the day.
Our fundraising is going slowly but surely, and we are building our page on better place, so you can donate to specific items and specific projects. Please go and have a look through our needs through our website at and click on the better place link. You can buy one football from 7 Euros! It makes a big difference to these kids.
Have a good weekend
Africaid Canada?!!
posted by Oli Walsh on 25 November 2009
This week we have a guest blog from our recent visitor, Dan Farrar, all the way from Canada! Please read about his experience with WhizzKids;

Hello WhizzKids-watchers!

My name is Dan Farrar; I am Tom′s cousin and I have been visiting Durban from Ontario, Canada. I have spent a very eventful ten days here, catching up with Tom and observing many of the facets of the WhizzKids programme. The staff here have been very welcoming and have integrated me into their organization, even though they knew I would be here only a very short time. I have been able to see the many stages of the core Life Skills programme in action, as well as the other activities that support it, such as the tournaments and the training for the FIFA Football for Hope launch. I had come expecting to see football (soccer to us Canucks!) used merely to generate interest from the kids who participated in the programme. However, I now see that the football training, the knowledge about HIV transmission, and the encouragement in setting goals are very tightly connected to each other throughout the programme. I believe the most important role of the football is to provide a memorable experience, different from normal classroom education, that helps embed the content of the training into the future choices made by the students.

Many people back home (friends, family and acquaintances of both Tom and myself) have expressed an interest in the work being done by Africaid. My goal, when I return to Canada, is to find a way to connect the talent and energy of these people to the work that is being done on the ground here in Durban. This will not be easy: Canada is a long way away from South Africa, geographically and culturally. On the other hand, I think that the challenge will make the effort more personally rewarding.

My hope is to find a compelling answer to the question "Why should it be both the interest and responsibility of Canadians to invest in HIV prevention research and education, half way around the world, especially in a relatively rich place like South Africa?" Part of the answer that has been shaping for me this week is that the methods used in the WhizzKids programme have the potential to make an impact across the whole continent, given enough distribution and exposure. That said, I will have a lot of thinking to do on my 30-hour return trip to Toronto!


Cape Town - Training Needed
posted by Oli Walsh on 20 November 2009
Dancing Practice
Dancing Practice
This week we had the eight kids going to Cape Town for the opening of the Football for Hope Centre into our office for their first training session. The idea was to get them to meet each other, as they were from different townships and different schools. They were accompanied by Nobuhle, one of our trainers, who had been rewarded with the trip for her excellent work in 2009.
The day did not start well at 6am. As we move into South African summer, you would have thought bright sun shine could be expected, but no, torrential rain and wind all day! This made the drive to Edendale a struggle and meant we could not practice outside all day, a change of plan was needed!
So we started with a refresher of the WKU programme in the boardroom, before the kids were taken to a nearby football centre where the kids could practice inside, where we were very kindly given the facilities for free. Led by ex professional footballer Paul Kelly (Manning Rangers), our new volunteer Matthias, with Marcus ensuring the kids were interacting as a team, the kids were great! Having been chosen for their attitude in class and dedication to the programme, rather than pure footballing ability, we were very pleased with the level of football and the speed at which they gelled as a team.
Then it was back to the office to practice their Zulu dancing for a 10 minute presentation to be given in Cape Town, practicing two songs. We still need to source the traditional dress, but think they will be a great success!
Lastly, we gave them interview practice. The kids who had been singing and dancing minutes earlier suddenly became quiet when our journalist for the day, Tom, started interrogating them. They came out of their shell after a while and made a pleasant change to the monotone footballers you have on the TV these days; “it was a game of two halves, well you never know, one game at a time….. etc!” Let′s hope with more practice next week they will become seasoned media professionals, they certainly have great stories to tell!
Then today, after a very kind donation from the UK, we were able to buy some football boots for the kids and Nobuhle, who will be taking part in a Coerver coaching course while in Cape Town, so they do not have to play barefoot!
We have one more practice session next week then it’s off to Cape Town, so please check back for updates and more pictures!!!
New website
posted by Oli Walsh on 13 November 2009
The front page of our new website.
The front page of our new website.
Hi again and thank you to Stefan for updating the blog in my abscence. I think it is great to get a view from everyone in our organisation. Have a look at our staff section on our NEW website and please let us know who else you would like to hear from! If we get special requests they will be more than happy to fill you in.

So this week, as you will know if you are reading this, we launched our new website. It has been a long time coming with alot of work put in by Stefan, so a big thank you to him!

Have a look around, let us know what you want us to add, let us know your favourite bits and if you spot any errors please let us know! We are also using google analytics to analyse the website, which is a great tool to check effectiveness of certain areas but also to track where our visitors come from. So far they have come from far and wide: Ethiopia, China, UK, USA and South Africa to name a few, so please help us add to them!

We also held our first training session with some of the kids going to Cape Town in December. It was great to see their football skills, talk to them about Cape Town (they are so excited!) and send them to a photo shoot at a Virgin Active Gym to be presented with a cheque from BDO for providing some funds for the trip! So a big thank you to BDO and Virgin Active!

We are still looking for funds so if anyone can help please let us know

Have a great weekend

Back again
posted by Stefan Kunze on 2 November 2009
Hi everybody,

I am Stefan, the first volunteer who returned to WhizzKids United. As Oli is on his well deserved holidays, I will have the pleasure to write this week′s blog and to share some of my first impressions with you.

I have been with WhizzKids United before. That was in August 2007 for six months and it always was my dream to come back to South Africa since I left in February 2008. And so far, I do not regret that I returned. There was a very warm welcoming for me when I arrived and I really felt that everybody else was just as happy for me to be back as myself.

My job is pretty much the same like in 2007. I am programme coordinator, which means that I work a lot in the field, closely with our trainers and try to keep everything running smoothly at the ground. The big difference compared to 2007 is the change of the working conditions. There is the office now, which allows a far better and more professional working atmosphere than we used to have it in our "dinning room" at Clark Road. Plus there is a lot more staff (at times there was only Marcus and me two years ago) and a very clear structure. I remember Marcus always laughed at me in 2007 when I spoke about the need of better structures and - big surprise - now it came alive. All in all I really like it.

At last, I′d like to add that whoever finds a spelling mistake in my text may keep it!



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