A wheelchair-bound netball coach from Kuilsriver says she has compassion for children who are affected by domestic violence. That is why she’s continuing to coach netball in her area, from her wheelchair.
The 45-year old says she takes great pleasure when parents contact her to tell her of the marked improvements in the lives of their children, whether it being improved grades at school or children from impoverished communities spending less time on the streets.
Lielanie Africa, from Sarepta in Kuilsriver, got back into netball two years ago, when she was asked to umpire school matches. After getting involved in this, she decided that she also wanted to teach the youngsters the basic rules of the sport. “I feel that, if you can enjoy the sport, then you will always deliver the best that you can in the discipline”, says Africa.
The coach, who has been in a wheelchair for more than 20 years, also goes to visit the parents of the learners that she coaches, to get an understanding of the situation at home. She uses these visits to further motivate the players; and parents often respond, describing how their children’s behaviour have changed for the better.
And, she has an inspiring message for others who are wheelchair bound: “It’s not the end of the world. You have so much to live for. To be thankful every day, for what you have and what you can do and to always say something positive to the person in front of you. To enjoy life, to be thankful that God loves you. You must also love yourself because if you can love yourself, then you can love your neighbour and then you can support and help them.”
Africa says she feels good when she has made a person smile, and to see them happy is payment enough for her.
The coach says she feels privileged to do work like this in her community and that she hopes that in future she would be able to do more to uplift, empower and help her local community.