Doc Mabila from Hlawula Vutomi says seeing the pride and joy on the children’s faces returning home after their recent gathering in the Kruger National Park was the highlight of an intense, but special week. Mabila expressed these views speaking to Jean Smyth for the Laureus Power of Sport podcast.
Mabila, along with Schalk van Heerden and the rest of the team at Hlawula Vutomi, in conjunction with Laureus South Africa are changing lives for young children from rural Mozambique in the first project of its kind.
“We basically had 20 children from Mozambique who earned to come here, they didn’t come for free,” Mabila told Smyth while changing a puncture on his vehicle from inside the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. These were top achievers who were doing well at school and through the programme were involved in different activities that combined football, IT training, life-skills, enterprise development and, crucially, conservation.
It wasn’t all work though as though headed to the Kruger, included former Springbok rugby captain Corne Krige as well as the Laureus South Africa chairperson Morne Du Plessis who danced and played soccer which, crucially, changed the ‘top-down dynamic’as they were taught different skills by the children.
“The program itself is an amazing program because it is so unique, ambitious and dealing with such a major issue and unique in the Laureus stable in the world as it is the only conservation-based program and that for one is exciting,” Du Plessis told Smyth.
Also, on the podcast, Smyth saluted an incredible achievement: inspirational Laureus Ambassador Grant Lottering completed a solo ride through the Pyrenees and the Alps all in the aid of the Foundation which included over 20000 metres of climbing, 23 mountain summits, and nearly 1000km in just under 48 hours.
This was the latest in his Im’Possible series and sees him tick off yet another astonishing feat. “It is so many mixed emotions, on the one hand I wanted to get off the bike and on the other, I just didn’t want it to end,” Lottering said.