Halala Luvo, halala maJoyce Leader

Cape Times - - FRONT PAGE -

WARM­EST con­grat­u­la­tions to our “homie” Luvo Many­onga on win­ning the two top sports awards in South Africa – Sports­man of the Year and Sport Star of the Year.

On its own it is a re­mark­able achieve­ment, the pin­na­cle of any ath­lete’s ca­reer. And he had to beat off in­ter­na­tional su­per­star nom­i­nees like Olympic gold medal­lists Wayde van Niek­erk and Chad le Clos.

But Luvo achieved this de­spite two huge hur­dles in his life. He was born into poverty, with his dad un­em­ployed and his mother Joyce a do­mes­tic worker. It was touch­ing that among her first re­ac­tions in re­lat­ing her joy at her son’s awards – to our own award-win­ning con­tent pro­ducer Siyavuya Mzantsi – was to re­call the R5 coins she used to give Luvo to en­able him to travel from their Mbek­weni, Paarl, shack he grew up in to train in the richly en­dowed Stel­len­bosch.

It must have been a big sac­ri­fice for the do­mes­tic worker to come up with the many R5 coins re­quired to get her son to a com­pet­i­tive level. Now maJoyce has the deep sat­is­fac­tion that her sac­ri­fice has paid off. We salute maJoyce, and the many oth­ers like her, who deny them­selves so their chil­dren can pros­per.

As it of­ten comes to pass, in sit­u­a­tions of de­pri­va­tion, poverty and the mis­ery wrought by apartheid many try to escape that re­al­ity by turn­ing to drugs.

Luvo be­came ad­dicted to tik, which is tear­ing many in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties apart. It’s not easy break­ing that ad­dic­tion. It is heart-break­ing to wit­ness a loved one or col­league des­tined for such great things, for the very top of the lad­der in their ca­reers, come tum­bling down be­cause of drug ad­dic­tion. It is the sad­dest thing.

Our Luvo found the strength to over­come his ad­dic­tion, thanks no doubt to his re­mark­able mother, who stuck by him. Now there is un­bri­dled joy. As maJoyce put it to Siyavuya: “I am very proud to be Luvo’s mother. I had a knee prob­lem dur­ing the awards cer­e­mony, but when he won I could not stop stamp­ing my feet and jump­ing up and down. All the pain was gone.”

In­deed, it was more than the pain in her knee that was gone. It was all the pain of the dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances of her son and her fam­ily, now all gone.

Halala Luvo, halala maJoyce.

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