Hav­ing been in Ger­many for nine months on a sports ex­change pro­gramme, 26-year-old Qhama Dyakala from Sta­tion Hill came back with many sto­ries to tell about his Ger­man ex­pe­ri­ence.

The for­mer Port Al­fred High School pupil re­cently grad­u­ated with his hon­ours de­gree in hu­man sci­ence move­ment at the Univer­sity of Fort Hare, but was un­for­tu­nately faced with un­em­ploy­ment.

How­ever, his reg­u­lar vis­its to the li­brary search­ing for a job di­rected him to a friend that changed his life.

“Last Jan­uary, af­ter be­ing fed-up of do­ing noth­ing, I met a very valu­able friend, Sx­eaks Nk­winti, who I now re­gard as a brother, men­tor, and fa­ther fig­ure.

“He no­ticed me on my fre­quent vis­its to the li­brary and asked me about that. Af­ter hear­ing my story, he asked me to vol­un­teer at the depart­ment of sport, recre­ation, arts and cul­ture [Ds­rac],” Dyakala said.

De­spite fac­ing the dif­fi­cul­ties of trav­el­ling to Makhanda (for­merly Gra­ham­stown) early in the morn­ing and com­ing back late at night with no source of in­come, his en­er­getic na­ture got him into an ex­change pro­gramme in Ger­many.

“My man­ager Anga Ngce­bet­sha no­ticed how en­er­getic and en­thu­si­as­tic I was, as well as the pos­i­tive mind­set I brought into the of­fice, and got me into an ex­change pro­gramme in mid-March [last year]. I only got ac­cepted in June af­ter I had long for­got­ten about it,” Dyakala said.

“All the ex­penses were cov­ered by EC Ds­rac which I truly ap­pre­ci­ate. I was sup­posed to leave at the end of July but I got held up due to a visa de­lay and I only left at the end of Oc­to­ber,” Dyakala added.

Brav­ing the cold weather for months, he taught grades 1 to 4 dif­fer­ent kinds of sports, such as rugby, foot­ball and bas­ket­ball. His pas­sion for sports kept him go­ing.

“When I got there, it was the be­gin­ning of win­ter and it was not nice at all. I was a phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tor at Leineberg Grund-Schule in Göt­tin­gen, a small town where Al­bert Ein­stein stud­ied,” he said.

“I don’t re­mem­ber a night not drink­ing beer there. I ex­pe­ri­enced racism but I did not take that into mind be­cause it was go­ing to shift my fo­cus.

“Ev­ery­thing is also ex­pen­sive there,” he added.

Dyakala ar­rived back in South Africa last Wed­nes­day.

“It’s al­ways good to be home, see­ing my peo­ple and eat­ing my mom’s food, be­cause I missed her cook­ing so much. Africa to me is par­adise. What I also re­alised there [in Ger­many] is ev­ery­one is de­pressed and they don’t value friends and fam­ily.”

But he said it would be eas­ier to visit Ger­many again, as he had made many friends, whom he now counts as brothers and sis­ters, there.

OVER­SEAS OP­POR­TU­NITY: Qhama Dyakala from Sta­tion Hill spent time in Ger­many on a sports ex­change pro­gramme

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