Impact: How Jacques has gained control over his emotions

Before starting at CoolPlay Jacques struggled with controlling his anger. He was quick to violently react to others, often lashing out and fighting with classmates and friends.  He struggled in making and keeping friends because of his short temper. Through the guidance and mentorship of Coach Carl, he has been able to build trusting relationships with his teammates and his coach. Carl has reassured him that, “if I need to talk he is always there,” and has helped him work through his anger with the CoolPlay curriculum.  Carl has provided consistent support to Jacques throughout this year and the positive mentorship has seen Jacques turn the corner.  

He (Carl) told us that without discipline that we won’t succeed in life. Discipline at home, at school and the way I live my life. He has taught me how to have discipline in dealing with my anger. Before I started playing rugby I was violent person. When I started playing rugby with Coach Carl, all the anger came out of me and I actually calmed downI have made friends with my teammates and I will always have their back and they will always have mine, they are my other family.”

The life skills taught at CoolPlay, especially learning how to maintain composure (Card 6) with deep breathing and thinking before reacting, has helped Jacques on and off the field. Carl has taught him that using these calming strategies will help Jacques to think and choose helpful responses to situations, rather than reacting out of anger or frustration. This change in behaviour has allowed Jacques to become part of a supportive community, his CoolPlay family.

Carl pointed out that "this is not the same boy that started at CoolPlay with us at the start of this year. He has calmed down and has become a leader on the field and in the classroom. The teachers and his mom have pointed out to me that he has grown a lot this year. He has learned how to think before reacting. Something that is going to help him succeed in the future." 

Scott SloanComment
Womens' Month: #ComfortablyConfident campaign ends on a high!

For the month of August CoolPlay has been busy with a sponsorship campaign in order for girls in our programs to feel more #ComfortablyConfident. Through a GivenGain campaign and a series of events we raised awareness about a lack of critical sports equipment needed for girls to feel their best selves when play sport.

Under Armour heard our call to provide this essential equipment and this Women's Month donated an incredible 560 sports bras (at a value of R560k) to girls across our programs. In order to celebrate this huge contribution we organised a special Netball Festival at Sarepta High School on September 1st. The event included:  

- An official hand-over of sports bras from Under Armour to CoolPlay netball girls
- A netball tournament for 60 girls from the CoolPlay program. 
- Zanele Mdodana, former SA Netball Captain and Head Coach of Matties Netball officially received on behalf of CoolPlay and inspired our girls with a rousing team talk!

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Champion Grace wins Western Cape After School Sport Coaching Award
Grace with other 

We have run out of words to describe Grace and what she has achieved through CoolPlay in the last year - but we think it's worth putting on paper after her deserved recognition at the Western Cape After School Sports Awards in August. 

-       She continuously (year on year) attracts the highest number of participants to her life skills through sport sessions - upwards of 45 learners each week in Ocean View.

-       Grace maintains a devoted squad of learners each week despite frequent disruptions in the community due to gang violence. She continuously puts her children before her own personal safety and walks them home if there is a safety concern.

-       Two of her students (one who was close to expulsion) have now represented Western Province for netball at their age level.

-       Grace has recently completed her netball refereeing level 2 course and is now a WP referee having recently toured to Port Elizabeth to referee at an official tournament.

-       She will complete her Netball Level 1 accredited coaching course with SASOC in September

-       Her work was featured in the People’s Post this year:

-       She was recently appointed on to Kleinberg Primary's School Governing Body as a result of her services to the school community.

-       The school recently competed in their first even tournament outside Cape Town, coming runners up in the EduCool Sports Day in Bredasdorp in June. She also took a team to play in Masiphumelele in May.

-       She is enthusiastic, joyful, humble, and modest about her achievements. See her in action in this Beautiful News feature:

-       She delivers a structured programme of Social and  Emotional learning through the CoolPlay curriculum. The CoolPlay curriculum is based on 8 social and emotional learning competencies created specifically for CoolPlay; they are Goals, Values, Team Spirit, Character, Communication, Responsible Decision Making, Maintaining Composure and Positive thinking. Through delivering the CoolPlay programme Grace has allowed the girls to grow in their empathy, self awareness, better self confidence and have allowed them to start to plan for their future. 

-       She has addressed gender based issues affecting girls in her care, and as such CoolPlay was able to secure via donation sanitary pads for the girls in her team so they could continue playing with confidence

-       In terms of professional and personal development she has attended 4 structured workshops on social and emotional learning delivered by clinical psychologists, 1 on gender equity and 2 child protection. She has also passed the CoolPlay Champions assessment with a pass of 94% showing she has quickly and ably mastered our social and emotional learning content.

Many congratulations to Grace and we look forward to working with her for many years to come!

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Impact: How Tapiwa beat the bullies the CoolPlay way

Tapiwa is 13 years old and attends Kuils River Primary. He was born in Zimbabwe where he lived with his grandmother and father. When his grandmother passed away he moved to South-Africa and started attending school at Durbanville Primary.

"At first I didn't feel welcome at all . Some boys started calling me names and that hurt my feelings. After two years I changed schools and that's where I started attending Kuils River Primary. I expected to make new friends and not to be called names, but I was wrong."

At the end of the first term he decided to join the CoolPlay program, hoping to learn how to play the sport and make friends.

"When I got to rugby practice I saw all the boys that called me names were also there. At first I didn't want to take part in the sessions but Coach Damion approached me and asked me what was wrong. When I told him about my situation he said he will sort it out. He explained to all of us what CoolPlay does and how it will help us. He paired us up into groups and I noticed that I was in the group of the boys who called me names. He told us to build a human pyramid, one of the CoolPly games where you can see that that a team is only strong if the foundation is strong and that we, as teammates, can't play this sport without each other."

"The second term started and I was expecting to be called names but I was surprised that the rugby boys invited me to be their friend and to sit with them at breaks. Me and the boys who called me names started to become best of friends and this is all because of Coach Damion and the CoolPlay material. The games helped me with my school work also, at first my Afrikaans was not good but with the help of coach Damion I achieved my goal of improving.

The rugby sessions helped me so much that I was selected to go for WP-Trails and I made it to the last round but unfortunately I fell out. At first I was very upset but then I remembered that Coach Damion told us that if we fail in something to never give up and I made up my mind up to just work harder and try again next year.

I want to thank Coach Damion for all his support ,guidance and leadership. I also would like to thank Mr.Manuels and CoolPlay for coming to the school.  I want to end off with the words of the late Nelson Mandela that 'sport has the power to change the world.'

Scott SloanComment
Women's Month: Help our girls feel more #ComfortablyConfident
Womens Day PR (CTA).png

DID YOU KNOW in South Africa, of the Olympic athletes receiving support in 2015, only nine out of the 30 athletes (30%) were women. Though raw facts are hard to find, according to the Dept of Sport and Recreation strategic plan for 2020, current participation levels of women and girls at grassroots level is “particularly poor, with few opportunities for females to participate in sport at schools and clubs." There are a number of reasons:

  • Safety and transportation issues. 
  • Social stigma: idea that girls time should be better spent by helping in the home and not playing games, boys play games.
  • Cost: many cannot afford the most basic necessity to feel comfortable whilst playing sport - a sports bra.

Yet, did you know that:

  • High school girls who play sport are less likely to get pregnant. 
  • Girls playing sport are more likely to do better in school and to finish matric than girls who do not play sports.
  • Girls who play sport have higher levels of confidence, which can lead to lower levels of depression and risky behaviours.

COOLPLAY is working with almost 500 girls across Cape Town to help transform their lives and achieve their goals in sports, education and life. We provide girls with a life skills curriculum and safe space to play as a team. Through rugby and netball, girls build their self esteem and find value in their own accomplishments. Our program helps girls stay in school, avoid risky behaviour and build meaningful lives on their own terms.

In early 2018, CoolPlay Area Manager Esther Sampson and CoolPlay Champions Nokulunga Mvandaba, Grace Mapfumo, and Feziwe Payi noticed that girls didn’t feel comfortable participating on the sports field without supportive underwear and that they usually felt self conscious or distracted. When they spoke to the girls they discovered that only 40% had the financial means to wear one and only 60% of the girls in their programs actually have any kind of bra. 

For CoolPlay to make lasting change we need girls who feel confident and secure coming to our sessions and applying the life lessons they learn through sport on the field and off it. If girls commit to CoolPlay it means better academic results, better decision making, the ability to dismiss negative peer pressure which ultimately leads to successes in life. Please support CoolPlay in our campaign to provide 300 sports bras to girls across our programs.

To support us go to and donate! Otherwise please contact to find out how else you can assist!

Scott SloanComment
EduCool Sports Day 2018

The 21st June 2018 was a very special day in our partnership with Education Connection, who we have been working with in the Cape Agulhas region of the Overberg since 2016. In those two years we have seen and experienced much fruit in the development of young children using sport as a tool and platform of influence.

For the second year, we have organised and hosted a successful U/13 Rugby and Netball sports day with children attending from CoolPlay programs all across the Cape. In 2017 18 teams attended with impact on 400 children. This year's event was no different as CoolPlay travelled with 100 children to take part in the day long festivities. Watch the video to see how it went!

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