When Banetsi Mphunga qualified as a psychologist he set up a mobile clinic in a taxi to encourage the youth to seek out counselling without fear of stigma.
Banetsi Mphunga is an inspiring individual. He has been offering counselling to the youth in Khayelitsha. He is campaigning to break the stigma of mental health issues within townships. One of his biggest passions is ending the vicious drug and alcohol cycle present among the youth he meets.
Banetsi started in 2015 with a mobile taxi clinic to address the lack of psychology clinics in Cape Town’s townships. He was inspired while working at a youth programme and he realised there were many psychological issues not being address.
The problem was so bad that Banetsi put his dream of opening a practice on hold and used all his saving to buy the minibus and start the mobile clinic. The taxi traveled around offering free counselling sessions and life skills.
“A kombi is spacious enough to hold a consultation, so I figured that would be the easiest way to reach as many people as possible.”
Since then Banetsi has opened an office where they formally sit and counsel people in need. The Township Parents and Children Counselling Centre is used as a head office and the taxi is used as an informal referral system.
The centre provides enriching opportunities for the youth including group activities like hiking and fun days. For Mandela Day the centre screened the ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ movie and hosted activities afterwards. They even focus on mental health of Gogo’s and Tata’s.
This initiative is changing the outlook of mental health in just one community. Banetsi hopes to launch the programme across South Africa.We wish him success in his goals.