The karate cop giving kids round-house lessons in life


For the most part South Africa’s perceptions seem to have reworked the classic good-cop-bad-cop routine to look more like bad-cop-worse-cop. But there are genuinely good officers out there. Detective Andries Douglas lives by a code. And he realises that solving many of our problems starts with educating the youth. So in his spare time he bandies his 25-year-old cop’s attire for a uniform he’s worn almost a decade longer. He’s a Godan – fifth-degree black belt in karate. And he’s teaching the art to farmland children.

Discipline. That’s what the t-shirts worn by Douglas’s pupils say. Along with character, it’s the most important virtue he strives to instil in the future of South Africa. And while robust physical form is the chop, literature is the hook. Under the sensei cop’s tutelage climbing to higher ranks requires mastering force of body and finesse of mind. Students need to read at least one book in order to progress to the next belt.

While Douglas focuses on children in practice, the message of his efforts is meant for their guardians: “We need to embrace the fact that our kids need our guidance and love.” This from a man who mentors every child he teaches. Douglas protects and cares for every person he encounters as a custodian of our constitution. He refuses to stop giving. Motivated by the eagerness to learn of the young hearts he touches, Douglas is piecing together a better South Africa.