Khensani is a township some 40 kilometres from the South African capital, where HIV and AIDs levels are high and unemployment even worse.
Tanish is the youngest of the school's Play Leaders – a team who have been trained through the International Inspiration programme to build active play and sport into the lives of the 1,000 pupils and their 26 teachers. There are 30 schools in the South African pilot programme for International Inspiration and the global programme is now playing out into 15 countries and nearly seven million young people – or think of it as seven million Tanishes.
Looking directly north from Tanish's playground (behind the pile of bricks), he and I share our rudimentary knowledge of geography. Walk over the first rough field and you reach Khensani's sprawling centre – a collection of basic shops, shacks and simple housing – including Tanish's home. Drive for seven or eight hours in the same direction and you reach troubled Zimbabwe – Tanish's birthplace. Take a flight for 11 hours – or 9,000 kilometres – further due north and you'll find Tanish's dream – the London 2012 Olympic Park. But add another 160km north and Tanish finds himself a genuine, if virtual, second home – in the Baverstock Sports College in south Birmingham.
Baverstock is one of the 30 UK partner schools for the South African International Inspiration schools. They have sent staff and pupils to visit Khensani. They share sporting passions and youthful gossip through letters, emails and, thanks to a recent sponsorship, via a video link.
Khensani's wonderfully entrepreneurial Principle, Mr Fannie Sebolela, was in Baverstock earlier in the autumn. He drew some fascinating comparisons between the children in both cultures and he picked up a raft of new teaching ideas linked to London 2012's Get Set education programme. He made friendships and links which will take him and both schools on a journey towards the 2012 Games and beyond. Amongst the Baverstock export was a stock of universal playground games – including 'Simon Says'.
The staff of Khensani say that the International Inspiration programme has given new confidence to their pupils, helped to improve behaviour and raise aspirations – especially amongst girls, who previously tended to drop out of sport. The staff have joined in with their own fitness drive too.
Tanish has a future mapped out as a sprinter. He reluctantly acknowledges that he won't be ready to represent his country at London 2012 – instead he'll follow his hero Usain Bolt. But as far as Tanish is concerned the International Inspiration programme has already turned his roughcast playground into an outpost of our own Olympic Park and the Games are already underway.