Sporting duo brings festive cheer to KwaBhaca youths

Sporting duo brings festive cheer to KwaBhaca youths

Not even Covid-19 pandemic could dampen the spirits of the youth in KwaBhaca (formerly Mount Frere) in the Eastern Cape, where former dual world boxing champion Xolisani “Nomeva” Ndongeni and TS Galaxy tough midfielder Mxolisi Mbunjana provide hope to the poor communities via a sports festival.

The football and netball event took place at Lutateni Primary School’s playground on December 26-27. 

Ndongeni and Mbunjana, both aged 30, are bosom friends from the communities of Mgungundlovu and Lutateni in KwaBhaca.

“We come from very poor communities and  Christmas means nothing to them if truth be told. That is why this football thing was very big when we were growing up. Everyone knew and looked forward to December 26 and 27 because we would gather at Lutateni Primary School, where this tournament always took place. That is how Mbunjana found his footing as a footballer,” said Ndongeni, whose successes in the roped square enabled him to own property in Johannesburg, where he is based as a boxer.

“We put heads together and decided to try and better the tournament – we named it Nomeva-Mbunjana Festival when we started it in 2015. We used our own money because we have no sponsors and it has been wonderful. The tournament is all about ploughing back to our very poor communities. It also enables ordinary people to make some money by selling food and drinks to the fans. We use a school sports ground which is not in a good condition.”

Ndongeni said they had 20 amateur teams participating this year.

“For the first time we included netball for which we had six teams,” he said. “It is so sad when you look at all the teams because some wear their clothes because they don’t have playing kit. But the excitement is written all over their faces because that is the least the youth can do to enjoy Christmas [holidays], otherwise they resort to heavy drinking which leads to crime. We try our best to cover that up so that they look the part and it actually motivates them.”

Ndongeni is actually pleading with the Alfred Nzo municipality to come on board.

“Our community is so poor that we began experiencing electricity only last year. There is life but crime  is also rife because people have nothing to keep them busy. We believe we can do more but we need assistance from our municipality. This is not about myself or Mbunjana but it is our small attempt to bring hope to the youth of our community,” he said .

”The R20,000 that gets won by the winning football team is not enough. I mean, the R5,000 for netball champions is too little.

“Like I said, it was the first time that we included netball this year and the winners walked away with R5,000, playing kit and a trophy,” said Ndongeni in his parting shot.

The football champions also received a new soccer kit. 

This article was originally published by Sowetan Live (