In some communities, youths loiter and roam the streets and end up getting into mischief because they have got nothing to keep them busy. Others end up getting involved in serious criminal activities which lead them to prison.
But one resident of Tshiozwi village, Jafter Mamugudubi, saw that nearly a decade ago and decided to be the messiah of youths, not only from his village but in the entire Vhembe district in Limpopo. However, he had to start small in his village and would only expand his project as time and resources permitted him to do so.
“We noted with dismay that many people who host community-based sports activities are mainly focusing on generating monies out of such events. We saw it many times where the entrance fee is so high the youths or their unemployed guardians cannot afford it.”
Jafter then approached the local chief with a request for a piece of land. He presented his idea of creating a sports centre where youths would have a variety of sports activities which comprised of soccer, fun-runs, races, traditional dance, volleyball and netball.
“Just in a space of thirteen years, we have hosted ten editions of the Sinthumule Kutama Easter Soccer Challenge, which is our biggest annual event. We also host a variety of events throughout the year to keep young ones busy and active whenever they are not busy with their school work or chores in the homes.”
Entry to all Mamu Community Development’s events or activities is free. They have sent at least eleven young boys for trials in national soccer academies such Thuso Phala Foundation, Kaizer Chiefs Youth Academy, Orlando Pirates Development Academy, Highlands Park, and Wits University Development.
“At least six youths of the eleven who we sent for trials have so far managed to become selected and become part of the trainees at the academies, where the academies also cater for their academic studies. All these boys do not just go to the academies or for trials own their own: Mamu pays for their welfare and transport fees from funds which we managed to raise with the help of loyal sponsors.”
The organisation has been at the forefront in the quest for clothing needy learners with new school uniforms and stationery at the beginning of each academic year. They also refurbish dilapidated homes of the indigent households.
“I have found joy and happiness – in fact, my purpose of life or living – in the activities of Mamu, where my team and I move around adding meaning and value to the lives of my people – and youths in particular – here in the rural areas.”
Mamu Community Development has created a positive rapport among the local businesspeople who continue to sponsor their annual activities. Jafter explains that it has been an easy task to gain the business people’s trust in a world today where corruption and maladministration seem to be the order of the day.
“Many community organisations quickly lose the trust and support of businesspeople in that they start fighting among themselves over resources such as monies and others which the sponsors have contributed, forgetting that those resources are meant for the beneficiaries or communities. So far, we have distributed over R1 000 000 through our initiatives such as Sinthumule Kutama Easter Soccer Challenge, Mamu Youth Day, Mandela Day, and Hollywoodbets Pre-Season Cup.”
People whose lives Mamu has touched have appreciated their work. They have the support of the parents in the area, traditional authority, the SAPS, and the social development department.
“So far, we are glad about the kind of work we are doing and nothing is going to stop us from caring for the youths in our communities.”
Tell us: What other activities could help keep the youth off the streets?