Kudos Luvo and maJoyce
HALALA Luvo, halala maJoyce... Warmest congratulations to 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 fend off international superstar nominees like Olympic gold medallists Wayde van Niekerk and Chad le Clos. But the long-jumper achieved this despite two huge hurdles in his life.
He was born into poverty, his dad unemployed, his mother Joyce a domestic worker. It was touching that among maJoyce’s first reactions in relating her joy following her son’s awards was to recall the R5 coins she used to give Manyonga to enable him to travel from their Mbekweni, Paarl, shack, in which he grew up, in order 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 competitive level. Now maJoyce has the satisfaction that her sacrifice has paid off. We salute maJoyce, and the many others like her, who deny themselves so that 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.
Manyonga became addicted to tik, which is tearing many individuals, families and communities apart. It’s not easy breaking that addiction. It’s 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 an addiction to drugs. It’s one of the saddest things.
But Manyonga 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: “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 her son and her family endured, now all gone. Halala Luvo, halala maJoyce.