Yolanda Nkala has lived in Lavender Hill from the age of 8, raised by her mother, Charmaine Josephs. She went to school at Hillwood Primary School in Lavender Hill and matriculated from Lavender Hill High School in 1999.
“I started my netball career at primary school level at the tender age of 9”, Yolanda says, "Netball saved my life, giving me an alternative to the struggles in our troubled communities. Most families in these troubled communities has very little to build on and drug peddling and gangsterism was at the order of the day. Looking back to the nineties the one positive thing my late Stepdad left behind was the love for sport in our community , most gangsters in our community respected my stepdad nicknamed "3-1" (three-one) and today I can build on that legacy.
Yolanda feels this was a key turning point in her childhood, “Netball, dancing and athletics kept me sane because I always wondered that there must be something better than selling drugs.”
Yolanda went on to play Action Netball Super League and Western Province Netball in the region. She still holds netball dear and felt compelled to give something back: “I became a coach because I knew I needed to give back to the community. And I was a product of the system in Lavender Hill and I made it, with the help of all the sports and my coaches.”
“Myself and Ralph Bouwers (Guardians of the National Treasure CEO) played netball together for many years, and I know his heart. He has a heart for Lavender Hill and because my heart beats the same for the kids I want to be part of it. All the skills I have as a recruiter, dancer, runner, netball player and singer I want to give back.”
At this early stage Yolanda is making netball fun, build friendships and ask the girls and boys to bring along a friend. They do physicals, ball practice and build young friendships to eradicate the territorial divide created by the 5 different gang groups within the community.
She says, “We started off with eight onlookers wondering ‘what’s happening here?’ , and soon there was laughter and loads of energy bouncing all over the netball field. It was like rain after a long drought.”
Today Lavender Hill is five netball teams strong (Lavender Hill Netball Club, LHNC) and growing. The idea is to establish enough netball teams within the Lavender Hill area for 2018 and thereafter to play on a registered Netball League 2019 alongside the soccer boys now playing on a SAFA registered league.
They train alongside the Lavender Hill Football Club to create a positive atmosphere and to bring sport as a healer back into Lavender Hill riddled with substance and drug abuse.
Training days for netball currently are Monday and Tuesdays 18h00-19h00, run by two qualified coaches, Yolanda Nkala and Fred Damons, both local residents and now with the opportunity to transfer their skills to kids in their own community, with GNT support.
Ralph Bouwers paved the way for the soccer and now a year on they play league soccer as LHFC. Where soccer leads netball is sure to follow."
"I ❤️Lavender Hill," says Yolanda Nkala GNT.