Overcoming obstacles and recovering from hardship and life circumstances have encouraged Henk Botha to adopt a life of assisting others to unleash their potential. Coach Henk, as he is affectionately known, believes a purposeful life involves helping others become their better versions, and empowering those who don’t have the means or ways to change their lives.
“We have a rule in our house: If you do the right thing, the right thing will happen to you. We know what suffering is; we went through tough times but that prepared us to help others today. My wife and I have this commitment to help, change and be part of something great,” he tells VIBEZ!
Where it all began
Hendrick Petrus Botha was born on 30 December 1968 in Windhoek. The family later moved to Keetmanshoop and then Otjiwarongo.
Botha says his upbringing was simple.
“I had a fairly normal childhood in an average household; we were not rich. My father and namesake used to travel a lot, hence the move to Otjiwarongo, where he started a business. My father’s political views of opposing apartheid were not accepted by the community, and that made things uncomfortable. But I was lucky and raised in a happy family with my four brothers Johan, William, Shaun and Jan Pierre, also known as JP.”
Not only did Botha inherit his father’s name, but he also received his sporting abilities.
“My dad was a fairly okay sportsman, who played provincial rugby in South Africa. He was also an athlete and did a bit of boxing. I played rugby and tapped into boxing – but for a short time. Growing up, I loved sports and still do; there wasn’t a sport I didn’t try. It doesn’t matter what kind of sport it is, I would play it and watch anything sporty on TV.”
While in grade 12, Botha’s girlfriend at the time, Elize Visser, fell pregnant, and life changed for them as they awaited their first bundle of joy. Botha immediately manned up and married Elize. He was 18 and she was 17.
“I married a beautiful, amazing, excellent and strong woman – and she later became a doctor. We have two beautiful children. My firstborn is Henk, and my daughter, Karlien, is studying in the US.”
To support his young family, Botha joined the police force, which he served for four years.
“We then decided to both go study in South Africa, so we packed up and went to Stellenbosch.”
Because of insufficient funds, Botha could not finish his psychology course, and Elize’s dream of becoming a doctor was put on hold, and she opted to pursue a career in zoology and botany.
Botha later became a marketing executive at BMW and later worked with VW, a job he continued when they returned to Namibia.
The coaching farmer
He loves farming and breeds Brahman cattle. He also has a small vegetable garden. Botha loves chickens; he doesn’t sell them, but gives them away when he wants. He just loves the idea of having them around.
But he adores children more, and that’s how he ended up becoming a principal and coach.
“We (Elize and I) want to make a difference and prefer to work with disadvantaged children. That’s why I got involved in coaching.”
“I can get close to the person I am training, and plan their lives. So, it’s not only about having medals and records; it’s about creating a whole holistic child-developing strategy.”
Botha is proud to have coached children, who later became lawyers and artists; “all they needed was love, guidance, motivation, drive and little push”.
Even now, when the couple started mentoring Beatrice Masilingi and Christine Mboma, they encounter extreme criticism from the white community in Grootfontein, but they push forward.
His aim is to leave behind a legacy that will ensure the consistent continuation of mentoring and unleashing the potential of Namibian children through sport.
Although a tough disciplinarian and perfectionist, Botha is an emotional and passionate person, who cares a lot and puts 100% in everything he does.
Botha attended his first and second grades at the Dagbreek Primary School, a school for children with special needs. But back in the day, it was a regular school.
“So, when people ask me where I attended primary school, I always say Dagbreek, and then you can already tell that person wants to ask follow-up questions – like where is the problem and what-not, which is always hilarious.”
Food and drink
“I love food and different cuisines from different countries, but my favourite dish would be Tom Yum soup from Thailand. My wife and I have been there countless times, and that is the must-have meal. I am into cooking but my wife doesn’t like it when I cook, because I can be a little messy in the kitchen.”
“I am not the best baker, but I know my way around the oven and pastries. I love being in front of the stove. When it comes to drinks – coffee with no sugar. I love good quality coffee; the stronger the better.”