WATCH: This coach shows her team the meaning of family
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The only knowledge Songelwa Sicuku-Mkita had about her father came from rumours. He’d abandoned her family before she was born. And when Sicuku-Mkita was seven, her mother passed away. The young girl began spending afternoons on the sports field, drawn to the sense of family she encountered in team sport. “I found role models that most people find in parents or at home,” Sicuku-Mkita says.
With positive leaders guiding her and the support of a team, she took her passion for games and ran with it.
After matric, Sicuku-Mkita volunteered for SCORE, a non-profit organisation which helps communities develop through sport. There, Sicuku-Mkita developed her coaching and leadership skills. Today she’s the programme coordinator of the Mbekweni Community Sport Centre in the Western Cape.
“A lot of children grow up without a typical family structure,” Sicuku-Mkita says. “A team sport offers them a sense of belonging when they struggle to find it.”
Through volleyball, netball, handball and rugby, Sicuku-Mkita ensures that the kids have fun while working together. “I can see that they feel happy and excited,” she says.
As a coach, mentor, and friend, Sicuku-Mkita’s encouragement helps the youngsters overcome the obstacles they face. “It means a lot to me that these kids see sport as I used to,” Sicuku-Mkita says.
Despite her tragic start in life, the community spirit has catapulted her strength. Under her guidance, Sicuku-Mkita is helping every child thrive, just as she did.