- By: Bonile Sobazile
- Short URL: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/give-youth-a-shot
My name is Bonile Sobazile and I am 27 years old. Growing up in one of the most poverty-ridden parts of South Africa, Joe Slovo informal settlements within Langa township in the city of Cape Town I remember witnessing a lot of traumatizing scenes growing up. Nearly every Saturday morning I would see a blood trail along the road I was taking going to the bakery to buy bread. Such a scene had become almost ‘normal’.
Sometimes early morning we would wake up to a knock on the door where my uncle (my paternal aunt’s husband) would be confirming if we are all in the shelter because some male figures had been found dead overnight and needs to confirm if we are all safe before he goes to identify their faces.
I’ve been to the Vanguard drive (highway) traffic robots (traffic lights) at the age of 12 years begging for brood (bread) and 20 cents, and across the other side of the road seeing how the older guys would do smash and grab and steal people’s belongings from vehicles by breaking the car windows. While we were begging, we’d often get chased by metro police because of them.
When at home, sometimes I would steal some glue and sniff it till I no longer felt hungry. And on occasion I played on old broken cars by the friendly mechanic’s yard and when the adults were not looking, I would break the door rubber seal/lining and stick it into the petrol tank and sniff again and again until I “heard the bees”.
At 13 years old I once walked from Langa to Delft (13.5km) and back. Then from Cape Town to Langa (12.5km) in the middle of the night because I missed the last train and had borrowed a ticket to use it.
I’ve seen someone get killed by high voltage electricity in broad daylight when they were trying to connect cables illegally.
I’ve seen many young men get beaten to death or near death by community members for stealing a radio, TV or a kettle (including a close friend’s brother). A significant number of young men I knew as children are now in jail or have become homeless and mentally distracted.
I’ve walked my older sister to work in the dark just so she could pass through the gang-infested zones safely as they would at least see ‘a man’
and would think twice before trying to do anything.
I understand what these young boys go through in their neighbourhoods. Langa, Bonteheuwel, Nyanga, Philippi are some of the areas with high crime rates, and the boys could easily become the statistic, because chances are they know someone who is part of the statistic. They see some of their peers already doing smash and grabs, smoking drugs etc.
By supporting this initiative. You’re not only adding your name to the list the people who helped create future leaders for these communities but you minimize societal ills that would otherwise be worsened if boys from these townships are left to figure it out by themselves.
Kindly help by donating with any amount you can as these young champions are preparing for their September provincial tour with no sponsorship at hand.
The Academy is now on its 3rd year and caters to over 150 young people. 35 of the under 16 players will be travelling to Johannesburg to learn about becoming better leaders in society during the heritage week of September school holidays. They will also get a dream chance of playing against some of the top teams in the south African premier league, including Orlando Pirates development and Kaizer Chiefs, which will signify the beginning of big things for their future. You have no idea how much your help means to us.
Visit Happy Hearts Academy on Facebook to learn more about our cause and ask questions.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND GENEROSITY.!! ?
Happy Hearts Academy
Happy Hearts Academy is an organization that focuses on enhancing the youth of our community. We are a newly-established club/organization and are enthusiastic about changing the lives of the youth that we work with on a daily basis. While our focus is on sport in our communities, we also value the importance of educating their children about life skills and academics in order for them to be the agents of change in the near future.