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.
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
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.
The Overstrand Whale Boxing Club (OWBC) has impressed the local community once again as they continue to bring home gold and silver. The club’s members participated in a number of competitions throughout August, with these young boxers proving that they are only getting better and better.