Building a thriving community

 

When you first meet Mr Kgomotso Masetlha you would not assume that he is a former professional boxer, a talented craftsman and exercise enthusiast.

 

A long-term resident of Zondi, in Soweto, Mr Masetlha has seen his community evolve from an easy-going town to a modernized busy town infested by a variety of issues. He worries about how the youth in his community has fallen victim to drugs and gangsterism. However, he has not lost hope yet, because he believes that this problem can still be corrected.

Mr Masetlha is a very skilled craftsman, who has been creating beautiful pieces of art for over 50 years. He learned to craft in his youth and he honed the skill through the years. What started as a hobby developed into a source of profit. He decided that he would share his skills with others, so he started engaging with the people in his community, while he also visited the nearest prison to teach the inmates. This helped them acquire some artistic skills to keep them busy while serving their sentences and also prepared them for a life outside.

 

 

Crafting is not the only skill Mr Masetlha possesses; he is also a former professional boxer. Even at his age he can still throw a couple of punches. Boxing took him off the streets when he was young and he wishes that he could use this skill to keep the youth from getting involved in gangsterism and drugs.

Six months ago, while looking for better ways to improve his lifestyle, Mr Masetlha came into the realization that the elderly in his community struggle to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. He took it upon himself to transform their lives, by bringing them together every morning for exercises and a game of football; fresh morning air, chirping birds, exercises, and football? Well, this sounds like a very fun and peaceful lifestyle. This does not only offer the elderly great physical health, but it also offers them a peace of mind, away from home. At the grounds they can breathe easily and forget about the stresses of the world.

The one challenge that Mr Masetlha is faced with is the lack of recreational facilities in the community. The community of Zondi does not possess enough suitable facilities that can be used to develop the youth and support the elderly. The elderly that Mr Masetlha keeps in shape lack the right equipment, such as, a proper and safe field, and kits.

His only wish is to see the youth in his community off gangs and drugs and the elderly taken care of. He believes that his skills as a craftsman and a former boxer can inspire young people to explore alternative routes in life and make something of themselves.

 

By Tebogo J. Mphatswe

 

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