Zimkhitha Dywili wins ACTIVATE! Active Citizens Award for uplifting youth through netball

Aug 15, 2023

Zimkhitha Dywili, a facilitator for Ikamva Labantu’s afterschool programme, Afternoon Angels, has been awarded an ACTIVATE! Active Citizens Award for establishing a netball club in Cape Town’s township communities.

Ikamva Labantu’s Afternoon Angels programme provides youth in Cape Town’s townships with after school activities, including sport such as netball and soccer, to protect them from the dangers on the streets. Zimkhitha explains why winning this award is so important: “Thank you, it is an honour to have won this award. In my township, youth and their parents battle with alcohol abuse and drugs. When I was a child, I faced those challenges as my parents were alcoholics, but by keeping busy in sport and netball I was not pulled down and protected from these bad habits. In 2018, I started a netball club in the Philippi township and created competitions targeting the vulnerable, young girls in my community. I use the opportunity to engage in life skill topics and provide a safe space for them to discuss issues concerning them.”

This Women’s Month, we celebrate South African women who are empowering girls, and the women of the future, to achieve greatness. With the recent Netball World Cup hosted in Cape Town, Zimkhitha hopes that by developing her girls’ netball abilities and skills they can one day see themselves playing for the national team.

ACTIVATE! Active Citizens Awards celebrates the doers in communities who often go without recognition or praise. Zimkhitha believes that winning this award will boost her girls’ confidence and give them acknowledgement, which they often do not get in their communities.

Afternoon Angels (where Zimkhitha is a facilitator) is a community initiative, supported by Ikamva Labantu, that aims to keep the youth safe and off the streets after school. The 29 sites provide over 1 800 children with a place of safety where they can receive a nutritious meal, emotional support, and play, while they wait for their guardians to return from work. This initiative helps to keep children away from the dangers of crime, gangsterism and substance abuse that they may otherwise be exposed to on the streets.

Zimkhitha participated in the competition hoping to win and buy her team some winter socks as getting complete kits is always a challenge as parents cannot afford them. Zimkhitha explains: “We work with minimal resources – and this award will assist us in getting desperately needed sports kit. As most parents cannot contribute or are unemployed, more funding is needed to ensure the sustainability of the programme and will enable us to travel to participate in tournaments. Thank you to Ikamva Labantu for recognising my potential and passion. I hope to continue making a positive change and uplift the youth in our communities.”