Inspiring Laureus project leader raises funds in London river challenge
Apish just might be one of the most remarkable young men you are ever likely to meet.
The young South African is still aged just 24, but he has already helped change the lives of countless young people through his love of sport, particularly, surfing.
That’s because he is co-founder and head coach of the Laureus-supported Waves for Change project, the remarkable initiative working across parts of the South African coast introducing young people to surfing as a way to teach valuable life skills.
Waves for Change started in the township of Masiphumelele in August 2011. The opportunity to help at the project was perfect for Apish who had demonstrated a unique passion for helping others from a young age.
His parents divorced when he was young, and Apish went to live, at different times, with his grandmother and Aunt. Working long hours, they were often absent, and he had no brothers or sisters. By his own admission, he regrets not having someone to look up to.
Nevertheless, he had a maturity and awareness of himself that helped him follow paths he knew were for the best, paths he could be proud of.
He wasn’t interested in smoking, drugs and drinking. He was interested in sport. And when the weekend came, and his friends chose to go drinking instead of joining him on the football pitch, Apish did the next best thing.
He put on his coaching hat and taught youngsters in the area how to play instead.
It was the start of a passion for working with and helping young people that would lead him to where he is today.
Talking to Laureus.com in London during his first ever trip abroad about his work with young people, Apish told us:
“It’s important not to judge, but to empathise, sympathise. I am who I am because of other people and always believed if I helped, then I might too be helped.
“We guide them to make the right choices… to cope with bad things as well as the good.”
Not only was he in the UK for the first time, this was also the first time he had been outside of South Africa, even the first time he had been on a plane.
It is clear Apish feels he owes a debt to those who gave him the opportunities he enjoys today.
Apish is certain life without Waves for Change or the Laureus YES programme of which he is a graduate, it would not be so positive.
“I would be working just for money in order to survive for tomorrow. I’d have no qualifications and wouldn’t have unlocked my potential.”
Apish, along with Waves for Change head Tim Conibear were in London for a special paddle boat race along the River Thames, through which an incredible total of over £2,000 was raised.