Oct 2023 1st edition

Taking children off the troubled streets of Khayelitsha

Written by: Anele Zikali


 A determined mother is harnessing the power of Netball to combat social ills and empower young girls in Khayelitsha

Phateka Mrwebi, a 45-year-old resident of Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, is resolute in her mission to prevent young girls from falling victim to substance abuse and teenage pregnancy.Phateka Mrwebi inspiring girls in her community. Photos by: GCIS

To achieve this noble goal, she uses a portion of her income earned as a cleaner to fund a local netball team, which serves as a constructive outlet for the vulnerable girls in her community.

Mrwebi's concerns about the bleak future facing many young girls in Khayelitsha intensified when she suspected that her two teenage daughters were in danger of being lured into some bad habits. “After being away for work on Saturdays, I had a challenge of finding the girls smelling of marijuana,”she said.

Faced with this challenge, she swiftly devised a solution: in 2014, she established the Silver Girls Netball Club. “I introduced netball so they could be busy on weekends and have little room to do the problematic things.” In the beginning, the girls did not like the idea, but Mrwebi was patient with them and they eventually liked it. Mrwebi coaches, manages and funds the team.
Khayelitsha kids
“Some of the girls have been with my team since they were nine years old and I am proud of them because they have since passed their matric without falling pregnant.”

Her team is in the top five of the Southern Zone League and has won trophies, including the first prize title with their Under 11 team and the seniors division during the 2018- 2019 season.

One of the players who has been with the team since its formation is 20-year-old Shego Selome. “I have friends that I grew up with. Most of them smoke and others are pregnant. The team helped me to stay away from those crowds in the streets,” commented Selome.

She hopes to one day play for the Western Cape Province and the South African national netball team, the Spar Proteas. 

Phateka Mrwebi can be reached on 073 325 5222 or visit her team’s Facebook page @Silver Girls Netball Club

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