A talented young senior clerk from Fire and Rescue dominated the Kenshikaikan Karate World Championships 2014 which were hosted in Durban recently. She attended this world championship tournament as the defending champion. She came second after being knocked out by an Australian woman.
Without any hesitation, a dead serious face and intense concentration was on a fantastic display right there when we (Lentswe la Emfuleni) enter her office for an interview. The editorial team could only marvel at the wonderful talent and dedication that she obviously has in abundance.
When asked what are 2 most important lessons in Karate was and she confidently replied: Discipline and Respect. We could see the confidence and pride she displayed and just how much this sport meant to her.
With the test passed with flying colours we asked her to tell us more about this Karate Championships.
She introduced herself as the Ni-Dan (which is represented with the second black belt) instructor. She is running karate sessions in the township at Tshwaranang Primary School out of her pocket, and teaching young school children as way of popularizing the sport. This is her way of ploughing back in the community but at the same time assisting children to deal with bullying at schools. “Karate is a culture, and it teaches one self-discipline, respect and humbleness” explained Skosana.
She has been in karate for the past 16 years and feels passionate about sport. She equally feels disappointed with both the municipality and SALGA Gauteng. Explaining her disappointed, she said “every time O.R. Tambo games are played, my heart bleeds because karate is not included even after our protestation as players”. Her heart breaks down when she talks about lack of support from municipality. “Every time, when I go to tournaments or championship I see some municipalities such as Ekurhuleni Metropolitan supporting its employees while nothing is happening on my part. This is despite the fact that I represent the municipality”. Support, she does not only consider it as monetary but also morally and emotionally.
“You go to Championships, you find my opponents heavily supported by colleagues and this is not extended to me despite being the world champion” she protested. She is only financially supported by Elliot Mbatha, her regional commander in Vereeniging, even though it is not enough to cover her travelling expenses but appreciates it very much.
In this world championship, there were 36 countries which were taking part. She is rated in the top 16 internationally and number one nationally. At the time of writing this feature article, she was about to undertake a trip to Swaziland to defend her heavyweight championship title. “I am looking forward to successfully defending my title because I owe it to myself, my colleagues and the children I am teaching karate”, she proudly and confidently predicted.
A passionate plea is made to colleagues, management and sponsors to help this fantastically talented employee from our own back yard to get the opportunity she so obviously deserves. It can help realize her dream and there is no doubt that she will make us all very proud! The municipality is put on the map through sport if we can support such initiatives. The department of sport is challenged to rise to the challenge in supporting karate as a sporting code.
In between the tournaments and championships, Bongi assists her fellow colleagues in Fire and Rescue through their paces and exercises. This is another effort to keep them healthy and focused.
By Stanley Gaba