Sport helped Jacob Boikanyo turn his life around –now, he is spreading that message among young people in townships.
He’s honest about where he started to go off the rails.
“I dropped out of school when I was 18 and finished Grade 9. I have always been very sporty but because of peer pressure, I lost my way in sports and did the wrong things like drinking, smoking cigarettes and marijuana,” he said.
Jacob was brought up by his mom Joyce, a single mother who sold vetkoek from the early hours of the morning to commuters on their way to work.
Without a male role model, Jacob faced many challenges in his early adulthood.
“The turnaround came when I decided to go back to school and look for a part-time job while studying. I went to my former primary school to ask for a coaching job as sport is my passion.”
They agreed and when he started coaching, he remembers, he could see that the kids he was working with were having problems in class with misbehaviour and lack of discipline.
“I could relate to them and I started helping them,” he said.
That help has grown into his own sports programme which caters for children from Grade 1 to Grade 7 and focuses on fitness, healthy living, motivation, discipline, teamwork and social skills.
The programme evolved into his company, Kids Academy of Sport (KAOS).
His ambition is to grow KAOS into a successful business, which would allow him the opportunity to not only make a difference in the children, but enable him to further his studies in fitness, support his mother and give back to a community in need.
Already, he says, he can see improvements in the youngsters he has on the programme.
“A lot of the kids have gained confidence, responsibility and also leadership skills and sportsmanship.”
Jacob came into contact with Hot 91.9FM’s Hot Cares campaign with a simple request to help him replace his cellphone, which had got smashed while he was on field, coaching kids.
But Hot Cares is about more than satisfying immediate needs, even though they do a lot of that. It’s about sustainability and long-term benefits.
So, they settled his fees for matric last year, helped secure his place at ETA College and paid the fees for the higher certificate in fitness diploma for 2018.