We Are Young Bafana: Thando, sports tours and Mandela Day

Thando Jacobs
In this week's chapter of We are Young Bafana, we meet Thando who has plenty to celebrate this week

We are Young Bafana

Chapter 3 - Thando and Mandela Day

Jabulani stepped out from his home in Lwandle and called to Thando, his cousin, ‘Khawulezisa!’ The two boys were on their way to meet the rest of their teammates at the Lwandle Stadium for a very special event and both of them didn’t want to be late.

The boys had lived together with Thando’s parents ever since Jabulani’s parents had died three years before. Though they were four years apart in age, they had one burning desire which brought them together. Their love of soccer. Thando had introduced Jabulani to John, his coach which meant that now the two of them were both part of the Young Bafana family .

Thando’s greatest desire was to play professional soccer one day. He feels it could be a way for him to experience a world which he can only read about at the moment.

Recently Thando pulled a hamstring during one of the matches and had had to sit on the sidelines for a few weeks. He never missed a game though and showed great enthusiasm in his support of his team mates. He was looking forward to getting back on the field this week, especially since next week, Thando and his team would be heading off on his very first sports tour. The excitement was mounting amongst the boys. They were all eager to experience a different part of South Africa and the people there.



Mandela Day is about taking action to change the world for the better. In these young people, we see Madiba's example of persistence and hope. With continuous guidance they are poised to make this world more peaceful, more prosperous and more just. We at Young Bafana have Mandela Day every day. Did you take 67' of your busy day and make a difference🤔? Our beautiful country can only be peaceful, sustainable and a true rainbow nation if we all make a conscious effort to improve things🇿🇦.@fivesfutbol @plant_a_ball @picupsa #WeAreYoungBafana #changinglives⚽️😎 #mandela #president #inspire #change #community #love #instagood #cute #photooftheday #instamood #instadaily #bestoftheday #follow #nofilter #instagramhub #capetown #southafrica

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Today however, it was not a practice which sent them running off to the stadium. Today was Mandela Day and Young Bafana had decided to do their 67 minutes of service making a difference in their community. The entire group of Young Bafana boys, along with their coaches would be cleaning up around the stadium. All of them had heard about Mandela and the difference he had made in their country. What a privilege to be part of an organization that encouraged them to give back to their community in the spirit of Tata Madiba.

Armed with gloves and black bags, the boys set to work. There was a great buzz of excitement as led by Thando, the boys sang while they cleaned. Eventually many of the children in the community joined them, happily singing along while they worked. The sixty seven minutes flew past and eventually all the boys congregated to count the bags of rubbish which had been collected. All in all Young Bafana had picked up fifty five bags of rubbish!



Certainly, this had not been the most glamorous of jobs but it was definitely one that gave the boys a sense of pride when they looked at the difference their work had made.

After making sure that all the bags were securely tied, the boys all began the walk back to their homes. Today had been day which was not filled with soccer and education. It was a day which brought home to the boys how important a role each and every one of them must play in order to uplift their own community.




We are Young Bafana is a collaborative project between Goal.com and the Young Bafana Soccer Academy. This is a fictional story based on real life events and experiences of the Young Bafana staff and the community of Lwandle, a township in the Somerset West area in the Western Cape.