Mot­lohi fights to com­bat scourge of so­cial ills

The Citizen (KZN) - - Latest News - Them­binkosi Sek­gaphane

Af­ter los­ing close friends to HIV/ Aids and the fast life that came with fame Charles Mot­lohi (right) con­sid­ers him­self lucky to still be alive to­day.

The for­mer Mamelodi Sun­downs mid­fielder be­lieves ed­u­cat­ing men can help de­crease the scourge of so­cial ills.

These days Mot­lohi works with Foot­ballers for Life to re­ha­bil­i­tate ex-of­fend­ers and en­cour­age youth in his com­mu­nity to fo­cus on ed­u­ca­tion and build­ing a life free of vi­o­lence. “In most cases men are tasked with map­ping the way for­ward for their fam­i­lies and if we help them change their lives we can save kids from drugs and other things the youth are in­volved in,” said Mot­lohi.

“I am lucky to be alive. I know what I used to do in my days as a well-known foot­baller, I am for­tu­nate not to have had HIV as some of my friends (did) and abuse was com­mon in my life, I speak from ex­pe­ri­ence all over.”

The Welkom-based for­mer foot­baller of­ten con­demns gen­der-based vi­o­lence and sub­stance abuse on his per­sonal so­cial me­dia pages. He says his ex­pe­ri­ences in life has helped him seek a bet­ter life for him­self and teach other men that is it pos­si­ble to change and be a pil­lar of the fam­ily.

The 48-year-old es­tab­lished Strik­ing 4

Life Change so he could col­lab­o­rate with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to con­tinue spread­ing his mes­sage of hope and have ac­cess to pris­ons to mo­ti­vate of­fend­ers.

How­ever he is faced with the chal­lenge of wait­ing for months be­fore he re­ceives fund­ing for his com­mu­nity projects. He would like to pay more vis­its to in­mates and have more out­reach pro­grams to help youths by or­gan­is­ing sports tour­na­ments in the com­mu­nity.

“Af­ter I re­tired I was strug­gling to find work and turned to do­ing com­mu­nity projects, I had also left my wife and kids at the time ...I was strug­gling liv­ing else­where. I caused my fam­ily a great deal of pain dur­ing this time. I went back to my fam­ily and asked for for­give­ness so I could live with them again. That’s when my for­tune changed.”

Be­fore Mot­lohi turned pro­fes­sional, he owned a num­ber of ama­teur foot­ball clubs and had a dream of own­ing a pro­fes­sional foot­ball club. On the day Phakaaathi spoke to Mot­lohi the for­mer mid­fielder had just re­turned from a lo­cal sta­dium where he fa­cil­i­tates train­ing ses­sions each day. Young­sters and some re­tired foot­ballers are in­vited to train and play foot­ball on des­ig­nated days of the week.

“We get to­gether and train each day. Most of the young peo­ple that come here in the morn­ing are those that are done with ma­tric and can’t fur­ther their stud­ies be­cause they don’t have money.”

Mot­lohi ap­plauds the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of foot­ballers for their dis­ci­pline and com­mit­ment to their ca­reers com­pared to how some foot­ballers from his gen­er­a­tion went miss­ing from team camps or be­fore big games due to poor so­cial and other bad life­style habits.

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