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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Makazole Mapimpi’s tragic past is proof anyone can overcome adversity

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Everyone has a story to tell, some more tragic that others. It’s what makes us empathise as human beings.

For Springbok winger Makazole Mapimpi, his story has brought many to tears.

An inspiration to many, fans were left devastated when he was ruled out of the rest of the Rugby World Cup due to a fractured eye socket.

Even more heart warming was when Spar employees in his hometown of East London serenaded him with Gwijo while standing at the till to pay.

Visibly emotional, Mapimpi started to clap as fans celebrated the local rugby star.

@mahle54730 #xhosasongs #amagwijo #africansongs #gwijo #spar #mapimpi ♬ original sound – Bra mahle

Playing an integral part in snatching the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, his journey to rugby stardom has not been an easy one.

During a 2021 interview unearthed by Rugby Shorts, sports commentator Kaunda Ntunja said, “That’s the first try that we ever scored in a World Cup final, and scored by possibly the player that has come from the most hopeless situation in the history of Springbok rugby.”

When asked who was Mapimpi playing for that day, an emotional Rassie Erasmus added, “I think obviously he was playing for South Africa.”

Changing the direction of the interview, Erasmus asked, “Do you know the story about the jerseys?”

He went on to explain that each player has photos of their family members printed into their numbers.

“He only had photos of himself,” said a choked-up Erasmus. “Because he didn’t have anybody else.

When he asked Mapimpi why he didn’t bring photos of his loved ones, he said his mother and father died.

“He doesn’t play for one thing, he’s just got a massive heart,” added Erasmus.

Things started unravelling for the 30-year-old in 2004 when his mother died in a car accident.

Mapimpi and his siblings were then taken into his grandmother’s care after his dad abandoned their family years before.

Five years later, his sister succumbed to an illness in her brain. Not long afterwards, his brother was electrocuted by electricity cables.

During a 2021 interview with The Telegraph, he said, “I’ve been through a lot.

“When people spoke about family stuff, when I was young, I would keep quiet. It would hit me. I would realise that I didn’t have this at home.

“Little things like that would touch me and it would make me go quiet. Sometimes it would stay with me for a few days.”

IOL Lifestyle

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