Ajax Cape Town on Friday afternoon [10 March] had the pleasure of handing over a wheelchair to Khayelitsha resident, Ibongwe Tshambu.
The five-year-old, who suffers from a lower limb deformity, was in serious need of a wheelchair and with the matter having been brought to the attention of the Urban Warriors by the Cape Times, we decided to act accordingly.
Ajax Cape Town prides itself on giving back to the community and we felt it was our due responsibility – in any shape or form – to help a fellow Capetonian.
Coincidentally we had a wheelchair in our possession, following an initiative last year and having seen the article we didn’t think twice to donate the wheelchair to this young Warrior.
The Marketing team along with PSL players, Mark Mayambela and Mosa Lebusa, were present in the handover at Site C.
Thabiso “Shooz” Mekuto was in attendance and remarked the following in the aftermath of the handover:
“We had a very interesting afternoon, the afternoon actually derived from an article we picked up in the Cape Times,” said Mekuto. “An article that was really touching and interesting from the Ajax Cape Town point of view – obviously we are all human at the club.
“Our focus is not purely on playing, but also on what happens in our community. In one of our communities, Khayelitsha, we saw a youngster with a challenge, a youngster who is five-years-old.
“He had no wheelchair…as an individual of the club, we no our limitations and we know our focus is on football, but when you can make a difference in situation like this you have to jump because you can help a youngster who is part of your community.
“He deserves free movement like all of us do. If we can help, we thought: ‘why not?
“Fortunately as a club we have been involved in collecting bottle caps [spearheaded by Kit manager Albert Hendricks] in raising funds- for an origination that incentives you for the number of bottle caps you have collected by giving you a wheelchair that you can donate to an organisation or to a person of your choice.
Mekuto continued: “We had acquired a wheelchair in that manner before so we thought: ‘we have a wheelchair and now we are faced with a situation where a child is in need of a wheelchair, so why hesitate.’
“On Thursday [9 March] we got in contact with the newspaper journalist who write the article [Sandiso Phaliso], he directed us to the home where the boy resides and gave us a phone number. We didn’t want to create too much expectation and hype so we communicated with the journalist who took us there to deliver the wheelchair.
“Boy, it was such a touching experience; going inside the family home and seeing the youngster for the first time – it became more of a touching experience because now you have a personal encounter with this boy. An encounter that moves you and you actually feel like you should do more. .
Ajax Cape Town have duly invited Ibongwe to the club’s next home game against Free State Stars, set to take place at Athlone Stadium this Friday.
“We offered this boy and his parents a football match experience where they will come to our next home game and actually come and see his heroes – live,” Mekuto added. “Which we felt was necessary to do, which is only the next step to keep this boy focused to be out there and enjoying life.
“Seeing him in his wheelchair, sitting in it for the first time, gives us a sense of pride because now he can move around the house and street freely. We pray to God that he is able to get stronger and he will be able to utilize his wheelchair; remember he is only five-years-old.
“It wasn’t a case of the boy supporting Ajax that we went there, we actually found out that his favourite player is Khama Billiat and we assume that he has an attachment to Mamelodi Sundowns. But that doesn’t bother us, because we are just happy that we were able to present him with something that will motivate him and he will look at life differently,” Mekuto concluded.
Ajax Cape Town will continue to monitor his progression and assist in every way we can.