Ask not what the country can do for you!Thomas Kwenaite
By Mandla Dladla
Former United States President John F Kennedy once delivered a heart-warming speech during his inauguration in 1961 and that historical speech has inspired both children and adults alike, not to mention one Siyabonga Khusela.
On that fateful January day on the steps of the capital in Washington 60 years ago, Kennedy said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!” and Khusela has not only listened to that message, but is practically implementing it on a daily basis.
Like many South Africans, Khusela has seen the devastation caused by gender-based violence across the country and he did not like it. He devised means on how to fight this scourge and decided to form “Langa For Men FC” an organization aimed at fighting the scourge and to mentor young men about life skills.
“It’s a known fact and we all know due to statistics that South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world and many young boys end up lured into this dangerous world of crime,” said Khusela.
Khusela’s sterling work has been recognized by the South African government which during the National Assembly in August, mentioned his work during their sitting and encouraged him to continue in their work.
The Speaker of Parliament Nosiviwe Maphisa Nqakula not only mentioned the work undertaken by Khusela, but went on to congratulate him for his brave attempts to uplift his community.
“The Assembly further notes that together with Mr Lengisi you are founders of #LangaForMen in August 2019, with the goal of creating safe spaces for all genders and cultivating a society where every gender comes together to fight the rights of women and young girls, and to end gender-based violence,” sayd Maphika-Nqakula.
“The Assembly acknowledged that #LangaForMen’s goal is to reprogramme the social fabric, and that it works directly with boys and men through the Boys to Men campaign, youth empowerment sessions, educational camps, hiking, healing sessions, boys workshops and sports to achieve this goal.
“The Assembly heartily congratulates you on the great work and wishes you well in your future endeavours.”
Growing up in Langa township in Cape Town, like most boys Siya harboured dreams of becoming a professional footballer. But due to life’s challenges he was unable to fulfil his dream and he thus shifted his focus on education.
Although he excelled in his educational endeavours, deep down he still nursed this never ending love affair for the beautiful game.
“At the begging of the year I sat down and thought about how can I get back onto the field and I reached the decision to form a soccer team. I mobilized young boys around my area to not just play the game but also attend separate sessions twice a week to learn about what it is to be a man and to be aware of serious issues that affect women.”
“I then approached a good friend of mine by the name Daniel Schmidt and he was one of the people that pushed me to go ahead with the team and he would become my sponsor.
True to his words Schmidt sponsored Langa For Men FC with soccer balls, playing and training kits as well as cones.
“We need more people like Schmidt and sponsors to come on board as we want to implement education through sports in South Africa and not just end up in Cape Town but throughout Africa and the world.
Siyabonga himself is also an activist for Gender Based Violence which was influenced by the personal abuse of his own mother which indirectly led to him taking the decision to form Langa For Men FC.
“It all starts with us as men and at the club we not only promote a healthy living but teach the young boys that masculinity is not where young boys see themselves as greater or stronger than any young girl out there.
“We also teach and promote sanitary drives by going out on different days to give out to those in need, particularly in the countless rural areas of our country.”
Our future plans for the team is to see it grow as we are currently affiliated with the Langa Football Association and to one day progress to the PSL level
as we have established a 10 year plan to see the project grow.