Andreas Banetsi’s Kombi is more than a car.
It’s also his therapy room, where he invites people in his Khayelitsha neighbourhood to talk about their mental health. Banetsi, 29, offers a service the community would otherwise not have access to. Private therapy is too expensive and government clinics are too intimidating. Even though there is still a stigma around mental health issues, he has seen more than 60 people since he opened his Kombi’s doors in mid-2015.
Banetsi identified a gap while volunteering at an after-school programme called Think Youth. He saw how either the school counsellors spoke no Xhosa or had a three-week waiting list. He bought the Kombi in May 2015, using all of his R28 000 savings, just so people would have a private and comfortable space to talk to him, like a friend.
If they choose to, they can have regular appointments at his office in a small prefabricated building. He now receives partial funding from the South African College of Applied Psychology and also sells his own adult therapeutic colouring books to ease the load. But, while funding is always a burden, he knows he would never exchange the experience of seeing people change for a secure salary.