Football to address fatherlessness in South Africa

by Ambassadors In Sport
Jul 18, 2012

In and Out of Prison

Bonga Mbili
Bonga Mbili

What a busy few months we have had in the prison, we can't believe it is already time for our next report. Thanks for all your support to this program which continues to make a massive difference in the lives of juvenile offenders in Cape Town, South Africa.

We are pleased to announce that the Academy was accepted into a local football association league! This has been a massive breakthrough as we are the first prison football team to now be registered in a community football league. This has been a massive boost for the Academy and for the young offenders in prison and serves as a huge motivation for them. The team has so far played 4 games and won all 4! 

Secondly I labelled the title of this report "in and out of prison" - our staff have been working tirelessly with young men in the prison but also visiting many of our graduates who are now outside. This takes a lot of time and effort as many of the young men come from different parts of Cape Town. However, we see this as being essential as we continue to mentor and support the men once released, the challenges the young men face out of prison are far greater than what they face inside.

One of our young men, Zola Goboza was recently appointed a community worker in the township Samora Machell, this was great news as this young man who has been rehabilitated through the Academy now has the opportunity to impact his community and put into his practice what he learnt through the program.

Zola's story is one of the bright stories (and we have many others) but we also have stories which underline the massive challenges we face in our project. Many projects don't share the real truths about their programs and the challenges but we feel this is important as people like you continue to support us. One of our young men, Jeremy was released back into the community and refused to join his old gang, this resulted in one of the gang members walking up to him one day and shooting in the back of the head, this was in front of his 2 year old son. We attended the funeral and one of our coaches gave testimony to Jeremy's time in prison. It is so sad that this young man died for making the right choice.

Another one of our other graduates Bonga was also shot dead in Cape Town one evening, Bonga was also a father to his two year old son and was making an effort to change, he was working and supporting his child. These deaths just continue to contribute to the fatherless generation we face in South Africa. You can read a blog I wrote about Bonga below on the link.

Another young man called Precious was released this year after he contracted XDR-TB, XDR-TB is a terminal form of TB and it is unlikely he will recover, he has been in hospital and vomiting up blood, we hope to be able to provide private care for him as it seems Corrections and the government are providing no adequate care for this young man.

These young men often need people advocating for them, they have messed up in life but statistics show that 95% of them have never had a positive father figure in their lives. This shows the important role sport can play as our coaches become the father figures and mentors to many of these young men.

In the coming months we hope to sit with Correctional Services and really secure our program and partnership moving forwards. There is so much work to be done but we need further support.

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Organization Information

Ambassadors In Sport

Location: Pretoria, South Africa - South Africa
Website: http:/​/​www.aishopeacademy.org
Ambassadors In Sport
Project Leader:
Ben Marais
AIS SA Director
Pretoria, Gauteng South Africa

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