Akhule Mgoqi, a grade-five learner at Zwelihle Primary has not always had the easiest existence. But, the lack of money or resources has done little to stymie the spirit and enthusiasm of the plucky 12-year old who dreams of becoming an international boxing champ just like his idol, Floyd Mayweather.
Though slight in build, Mqoqi’s speed and ability to place well-timed punches while craftily ducking blows from opponents has seen him copping significant awards at the various tournaments and boxing academies he’s competed in. Of note, despite having very little time to prepare, he obtained a silver medal at a national boxing competition held in Gauteng in June last year. It was here that he caught the eye of officials of the South African National Boxing Organisation (SANABO) and has since been selected to participate in a series of SANABO training camps aimed at grooming young up and coming boxers that will hopefully, in time, be part of the national athletic squad set to compete at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Durban.
Akhule belongs to the Overstrand Whale Boxing Club (OWBC), through which founder and Chairperson Mzi Damesi provides sporting opportunities, with boxing being one of the main codes, to the townships. On meeting with Executive Mayor, Nicolette Botha-Guthrie recently Damesi said, “Our kids need to be involved in constructive activities that will keep them off the streets and away from temptations like crime, gangsterism or substance abuse. Boxing teaches them discipline. It brings communities together and serves to promote social cohesion and integration.”
Despite the commitment of his young boxers, and Damesi’s dedication to the sport, they are faced with a myriad of challenges that often exclude them from participating in programmes that could boost their development and standing. “We are honoured that two of our boxers have been selected to compete at national level and know that with the proper backing they will go on to achieve great things. However, not having money to get these kids to events and tournaments and provide them with the proper equipment is hampering their progress. It saddens me that they have all this ability but may not realise their potential as almost all of them come from very poor homes where finance is a real problem,” stated Damesi.
For members of the public wanting to make a direct contribution into the organisation’s bank account, the following banking details refer:
Account Holder: Overstrand Whale Boxing Club
Account Numbers: 9224140796