Shaun Petersen returned to Lavender Hill on the Cape Flats to celebrate his birthday this year by giving back to the community that raised him. 

Petersen moved to the United States in 2013 as part of a Workaway International program and is currently coaching youth soccer in New York

On April 27 he hosted a soccer tournament in his hometown which was held at Steenberg High School.

“The tournament was on my birthday and it was my gift back to my community. It was an emotional day for me because we hosted it at my former high school which gave so much to me,” said Petersen.

“One of my teachers, Mr. Lawrence, was my pillar of strength and gave me everything that a father could give because I grew up without a father.

“Playing soccer has basically saved my life from a lot of things as I lived in this area that was - and still is - overrun by gangsters and drugs,” he continues.

He started the Shaun Petersen Sports Foundation with the aim of using sports as a vehicle to empower the youth and inspire other people. 

“We have a lot of talent in South Africa and I just want to give youth a platform where we can give them exposure and bring them over to the US,” said Petersen.

“I’d like to give them the opportunity to try the different sporting codes in the US, and to change their lives.”

* This video is part of the Sapa+ #Inform campaign.