Our Mission

The Connect Academy Way Since 2014

Using the sports industry to nurture young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, unlocking their full potential in the professional, adult world with consistent access to quality resources and opportunities.

Our objective is to prove there are no limitations in life for children and young adults whatever their personal circumstances, provided they are immersed in a challenging, caring environment that understands their individual needs.

This cannot be achieved with one-off events, clinics or initiatives. The cornerstone of our mission is taking a long-term approach, walking side-by-side with our young people, taking them as far in life as they choose to go, without any limitations based on the challenges of their family or home lives.

With this hands-on, holistic approach, we are committed to achieving our goal of developing South Africa’s next generation of well-rounded, independent young adults as leaders in their communities and as shining lights as to what this country’s youth is capable of when given the support they deserve.

Our Partners

Donate to Connect

Will you help us nurture South Africa’s next generation?

We are a registered non-profit company (registration number: 2012 / 057683 / 08) with PBO status. We can issue Section 18(A) certificates on SA donations.

Our Playing Pathway

The development of so many of our young athletes towards the cusp of professional sport has taught us that it is not just a pipe dream for children growing up in difficult circumstances, but a viable ambition to pursue.

This is only the case, however, when institutions make a concerted, consistent effort to provide access to quality resources and opportunities to young athletes that show the promise and desire to succeed.

Our playing pathway creates a supportive, challenging environment for those that display these attributes as they progress through high school.

We now focus strongly on those at risk of dropping out of professional sport between the ages of 18 and 21. There is a chronic wastage of talent at this stage in South Africa and overseas – and we intend to prevent it wherever we can.

Meet some of our playing pathway athletes…

Lamla Nunu &
Lukhanyo Vokozela
WP Rugby & SA U20
Ridhau Bey
Montpellier Rugby
Sesethu Mtshazi
Springbok &
WP Women
Akha Mjawule
Bulelani Sali

Find Out More: Lukhanyo Vokozela

Western Province Rugby & South Africa U20

Lukhanyo Vokozela was 13-years-old when he first joined our mass-participation, community outreach training sessions in the township of Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

Seven years later he made his senior Western Province rugby debut in the 2022 Currie Cup, before representing South Africa at U20 level at the Six Nations Summer Series.

Via a scholarship at Rondebosch Boys’ High School, he previously represented South Africa at senior school level and Western Province at age group level.

He’s not alone from those early days. Lamla Nunu has mirrored his journey with us from township field to professional rugby.

There are plenty more to follow in their footsteps.

Our Non-Playing Pathway

A primary factor in setting up our own high performance centre was to provide an environment in which our participants not pursuing a playing pathway could thrive just as much as those that do.

It was our responsibility to do this, given so few of even the most gifted young athletes make a long-term playing career out of their talents and efforts, not least those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds for a plethora of institutional and social reasons.

Our non-playing pathway has so far focused chiefly on coaching, by way of practical, hands-on development with athletes and the general public.

We also make use of accredited training courses and further education programmes tailored to the needs of each participant.

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Meet some of our non-playing pathway participants…

Find Out More: Lutho Mpande

Connect Performance Coach & Personal Trainer

Lutho’s journey with Connect started at the age of 14, in our very first days of mass-participation children’s outreach coaching in the township of Khayelitsha, Cape Town, in 2014.

Since then Lutho, a gifted athlete and committed rugby player, has consistently displayed one of life’s most underrated traits: dependability. He has grown with us every step of the way and it is a privilege for us to be able to call him a colleague in his coaching capacity with Connect Performance.

Lutho is now a qualified coach, working with elite athletes and emerging professionals from within Connect, as well as the general public. He embodies what is possible when young people are afforded the chance to reach their full potential, whatever the circumstances.