The sky is the limit for Inanda’s rugby player

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - SIBONISO MNGADI

DE­SPITE grow­ing up in Inanda, north of Dur­ban, where rugby is not pop­u­lar, Sibu­siso Sang­weni’s tal­ent with the oval ball has pow­ered his destiny into the Sharks U16 and U18 teams.

Sang­weni, 17, was only 12 years old when he lost both his par­ents. He thought that would be the end of his dream of be­com­ing a rugby su­per­star, un­til his “guardian an­gels” came to his res­cue.

The left flank started school­ing in Esikhu­l­uliwe Pri­mary, also in Inanda, and his ea­ger­ness and po­ten­tial on the rugby field se­cured him a schol­ar­ship to study at Dur­ban Prepara­tory High School (DPHS), where he com­pleted his pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion.

Af­ter com­plet­ing Grade 7, the fu­ture looked un­cer­tain as he had not reached his growth spurt, which meant high schools had no in­ter­est in him de­spite him hav­ing shown po­ten­tial when he played U13 rugby at DPHS.

The turn­around mo­ment came when par­ents at Kearsney Col­lege, in Botha’s Hill, west of Dur­ban, and par­ents of for­mer DPHS pupils rec­om­mended him for a Kearsney Col­lege bur­sary due to his ded­i­ca­tion on the rugby field.

“This op­por­tu­nity came at a very crit­i­cal time of my life. I was go­ing through a dif­fi­cult time af­ter los­ing my par­ents and I wasn’t sure about the di­rec­tion my life was tak­ing,” said Sang­weni.

He lauded his pri­mary school trainer and men­tor, Zola Mazwi, and those who had rooted for him.

Sang­weni made a his­toric de­but when he was re­cently se­lected to the Sharks U16 side that played in the fi­nal of the Grand Khomo Week and the Sharks U18 Academy team that played dur­ing Craven Week.

“I have not reached where I want to be, but I am priv­i­leged and hum­bled for what I have achieved thus far and for the sup­port from my school,” he said.

He said he had been in­spired by his broth­ers, Tha­bani and Felok­wakhe, whom he de­scribed as diehard rugby fans.

His vi­sion is to play for the Sharks se­nior team and ul­ti­mately for the Springboks.

“My ad­vice to my fel­low youth, es­pe­cially those who come from dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds like my­self, is that when you are af­forded an op­por­tu­nity, use it to the fullest,” he said.

Mazwi said he was proud of the progress Sang­weni had made in life.

“He has grown to be a hum­ble young man who just needed an op­por­tu­nity in life,” he said.

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