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A tribute to Johan Schlebusch

A celebration of the life of Johan Schlebusch

By Vince van der Bijl

The late Johan Schlebusch, founding trustee of Coolplay, was a beacon of what was right and just. He taught me many things, just by being who he was. Johan was a truly remarkable man.

Johan led many organisations and groups throughout his life and influenced them with his wisdom, dynamism, humanity and humility.

Ukhanyo Primary school and MasiSports were fortunate to receive his and Coolplay’s blessing of life-skills training for our coaches.

NPO Coolplay empowers young people to make good choices, manage their emotions and develop healthy relations. It helps train our coaches and teachers in their ability to give meaningful life skills sessions at the start of each sport practice session.

That in a way was the glue that bound Coolplay and MasiSports and Johan and me. It had taken me most of my life to realise that life skills are the key to living a fulfilled life. The base of a reasonable education is very important obviously and sport gives the children a vehicle to experience the learnings of life skills though playing sport or singing in a choir etc.

Experiencing the life lessons of team games is one of the keys. One cannot learn life skills in a classroom, unless one is lucky to have a brilliant and creative educator.

Johan leaves behind a warm glow in our hearts. He saw the best in us and we responded. He had the gift of encouraging, inspiring and mentoring people.

His interests were vast. He, accompanied by his wife, Joy, organised international birding tours to exotic places, fulfilling both their passions of birds and travel. Chess, bridge, scrabble he mastered. He loved rugby. Joy speaks about the hours of talking rugby to his friends, remembering minute details from matches played years ago.

Family was everything to him.

I and those at Ukhanyo and MasiSports were privileged to have been touched by him. He made us feel good about ourselves and by living his life with empathy and humility, encouraged us to be better people.

Viva Johan Viva.