Overstrand Whale Boxing Club

Overstrand Whale Boxing Club in Zwelihle, Hermanus

The Overstrand Whale Boxing Club is situated in Zwelihle, Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa. A local resident with a passion for boxing, Coach Mzi Damasi, started coaching the kids to keep them off the streets and teach them that they can achieve something in life if the work for it. They started off training in a broken toilet area. These kids are now winning medals at provincial and national tournaments and they have been given an old shipping container by the local municipality to train in. Mzi Damesi is a keystone person in this project and to a large extent the success of this Club depends on his energy and vision.

The number of boys and girls is currently growing fast in the OWBC, there is particularly a huge increase in girls joining. Most of the girls are using boxing as a form of self-defense in Zwelihle as there is a high level of violence against children and women. As boxing is mainly a male dominant sport the girls have been facing challenges of shared dressing rooms, bathrooms, equipment and clothing as well as all “starting puberty” and not having proper female supplies and mentorship.

EMS Foundation is supporting the OWBC because it is changing these children’s lives by making them feel valuable, special, unique and loved. It is also providing purpose, supervision and a caring environment.

But more help is needed. Proper nutrition and sustenance for the boxers is always a setback as the children do not come from homes with sufficient foods and medical care. Also, our grant is helping them to take minibus taxis to championships and competitions but they are often unreliable and this causes huge stress to the boxers because of safety concerns as they most often have to wait next to roads and highways late at night.

We hope that by highlighting the fabulous achievements of this inspirational Club, despite their extremely challenging circumstances, that other organisations and individuals – will stand up and be counted and support these amazing children and their phenomenal mentors.

See below their recent amazing achievements:

Overstrand Whale Boxing Club


“If you work hard in training, the fight is easy” Manny Pacquiao

The Overstrand Whale Boxing Club is situated in Zwelihle in Hermanus, in the Western Cape of Southern Africa.

The founder of OWBC, Mzi Damesi, has an insatiable passion for boxing. He coaches children who live in Zwelihle at the club, which is housed in shipping containers. This club is not only is the training ground for aspiring young boxers it is also a place of refuge. Mzi Damesi’s club keeps the children off the streets and out of harm’s way. The club has become a safe haven for many children.

Mzi Damesi has also taught the children that they can achieve anything if they work hard enough.

Many of his students have won prizes at national competitions. Training is one of the toughest aspects of boxing. The paces that fighters put themselves through just to ensure that they are in peak condition before a tournament is unimaginable.

In life as well as in the boxing ring, these young boxers are faced with enormous challenges.

The EMS Foundation has been a proud supporter of the Overstrand Whale Boxing Club for a while and this week they were delighted to deliver new equipment and boxing gear to the club.

Judging by their excited faces there are going to many more competitions won.

The EMS Foundation has delivered food to the OWBC throughout the COVID_19 global pandemic in order to support the club members and their families.

Cover Image: Elizabeth Steyn and Mzi Damesi

© 2020 EMS Foundation. All rights reserved




“Awubizwanga Uzizele, no one asked me to be here, I chose to be here” this is the mantra of the Overberg Whale Boxing Club which was founded by Mzi Damesi in 2007 and was formally registered as a non-profit organisation in 2011.

Image Credit: Daily Maverick

The boxing club is housed in the Zwelihle village, Zwelihle means “Beautiful Place” and it is situated between Hermanus and Sandbaai in the Western Cape of South Africa.

The boxing gym is situated, for the moment, at the Zwelihle Sports Grounds in Lusaka Street. The gym consists of three converted shipping containers set around a central concrete square.

Despite having very limited resources, the most basic facilities and equipment Mzi’s dedication and his pupil’s hard work the OWBC boxers have enjoyed phenomenal success, not only regionally but nationally too.

Image Credit The Village News


The EMS Foundation Visits The Overstrand Whale Boxing Club

On 28 of October 2019 the EMS Foundation has visited the Overstrand Whale Boxing Club (OWBC) in Zwelihle, Hermanus, South Africa. Liz Steyn and Michele Pickover joined the team and Liz even boxed and sparred for a few minutes with coach Mzi.

The Club, founded by Mzi in 2007 has achieved phenomenal success, not only regionally but also nationally. As a matter of fact, among his boxers there are six South African champions.



Local boxers big hit at Nationals

Overstrand Whale Boxing Club’s boxers marched through the streets of Zwelihle with a banner and posters to thank EMS Foundation for the organisation’s support. The talented young boxers also displayed the trophies they won at various boxing tournaments. Photos: Rick Marais

Overstrand Whale Boxing Club’s boxers came home victorious after winning gold, silver and bronze medals at the National Championships held in Limpopo last week.



Fighting for positive change

Coach and founder of the Overstrand Whale Boxing Club (OWBC) Mzi Damesi has big dreams of taking boxing to local communities with a ‘pop-up’ boxing ring. “Boxing is a great sport: it teaches youngsters discipline, courage, self-defence skills and the resilience to handle life’s challenges,” he says.



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