MasiSports was established in 2017 by world renowned cricketer Vince Van der Bijl to give children access to sports and cultural activities creating hope and a pathway out of poverty to live meaningful and successful lives.

Only 6% of schools in South Africa provide after school activities/sports, leaving 94% of schools without any extracurricular activities. Vince sought to change this in Masiphumelele and has created a structure where students learn teamwork, communication skills, discipline, and how to succeed and fail in a healthy environment, critical for their overall life skills development and long-term success. Amazingly, South Africa has won a record four IRB Rugby World Cups, which underlines the talent lying dormant.

MasiSports is committed to developing sport and cultural activities allowing learners, not just to realize their own strengths and skillsets, but also to experience the world outside their immediate township environment thereby creating hope for a life outside of poverty.

The program started at Ukhanyo Primary and was introduced at Masiphumelele High School in 2023.

To date MasiSports has accomplished the following:

    • Built two 30 x 60m astro turf fields, one astro 40 x 20m court, three netball courts, six cricket nets, and a half netball practice court. Previously, there were little to no sports facilities at either school.
    • Employed 14 coaches to coach the seven sports played – soccer, athletics, netball, cycling cricket, rugby, and chess.
    • Introduced cultural activities include hip-hop dance, art, choir, and cadets.
    • Promoted inter school official matches – 25 teams in the primary school and 12 in the high school.
    • Supplied all the sports school branded kit, equipment and even washing machines.
    • Supported two coaches in becoming Early Childhood Development educators, four coaches in obtaining sports management diplomas. All coaches have received level one sport skills training.

MasiSports also partners with CoolPlay who provide the coaching teams life skills education so that they can lead 20 minutes of life skills training at the beginning of every practice session. The sessions focus on respect, gender equality, communication, and planning for the future. The program also includes counseling and one-on-one sessions that help students navigate the obstacles that arise with being a teenager in a township.

The programs have had a dramatic impact enabling learners to develop self-confidence, self-esteem and skills in a broad range of team-based activities outside the classroom despite the chronic socio-economic reality of their immediate environment.

To date, four primary schools in the Western Cape and one in the Eastern Cape have followed the MasiSports model of developing a holistic education platform in underprivileged environments. MasiSports was recently introduced at a National Sport, Art and Culture conference as the “best after schools program in the country”.

None of this would have been possible but for Vince’s vision and passion and that of the many donors who have supported MasiSports along the way, particularly the Judith Nielsen Foundation.

Nika Foundation learners are actively encouraged to participate in these programs.