Captain Courageous: The Journey So Far PT1

Captain Courageous: The Journey So Far PT1

My journey started when I was 4 years old in a small city called Lusaka. My parents did not have the luxury of sending me to a good school.  My two elder brothers were already in High School at the time in a town called Paarl, where I would soon become a scholar at Paarl Boys Primary – 3500 kilometers away from the place I called home. I remember the day we boarded that plane, and how my life would be forever changed.  And so, begins the story of the busy little boy from Zambia who would later represent South Africa in one of our Nation’s greatest sports.

You may wonder how I got into Grade 1 at such a young age? Well, my mother was a schoolteacher, who had given me a bit of a head start in the education department. Life in Paarl was lots of fun especially when I discovered Rugby, which was one of the many sports I was introduced to at Paarl Boys Primary. I was particularly good at it, and as a result, made lots of friends which I used it to my advantage.

One of the first disappointments I had in life was being held back In Grade 3. My teachers felt that I would struggle emotionally because of my young age. That year was tough already as I had been staying with two different families due to the lack of boarding facilities. While this was one of my very first lows in my life, having to look after myself at the age of 5 certainly taught me about resilience. These tiny little set back made me even more determined to succeed at whatever I tackled (excuse the pun!)

Things started to turn around in Grade 7, where I was appointed as Captain of The Western Province Under 13 team. I got my first taste of leadership thanks to a young Coach who saw some potential in me. Maybe, he just wanted to give the “difficult” kid some responsibility.

Fast forward to Paarl Boys High, which is the natural progression for any “big boy” coming from Paarl Primary. Adapting to life in Boarding School was easy as I was already used to seeing my parents every six months. Boarding school was instrumental in making me more disciplined with time management, learning, sport, and of course, managing relationships.

I really enjoyed going back to Zambia over the June and December holidays. You soon get to know how much I love and appreciate the outdoors, especially the bush. There is something so free about the wild that restores balance to the pressures of everyday life.

I continued to play rugby as my primary sport, with swimming and athletics on the side when time allowed. In my Matric year, 1993 I was chosen as Western Province Under 19 Captain. This was probably the first time I realized that if things kept on going the way they were, and if I managed to stay injury free, I might have a chance to play for the Springboks. These were big dreams for a little boy from Zambia, but I was incredibly determined. Failure was not an option and I started backing up my dreams with some rigorous training and a disciplined diet.

After matriculating, I studied a business management course at the Cape Technicon and played rugby for the Gardens Rugby Club. It is usually at this point in every aspiring Rubgy players’ life where dreams of being a professional athlete often fall to the wayside. Student life and the distractions that come with it can often throw one off course. But not me. I was focused and willing to do whatever it took.

I Captained the WP under 21 team a year later which set me on a leadership path within the Western province ranks. We were unbeaten that year and that team delivered many Springboks. Hottie Louw, Dave van Hoeselin, Percy Montgomery, Robbie Fleck to name a few.

In my final year of studies, I was chosen for one of the South African “A” side teams to tour Europe for eight weeks. We played every Wednesday at club level, and on Saturdays, we would play against International A Teams. The choice to abandon my studies at that time was not an easy one. Sacrifices had to be made especially in light of such an amazing opportunity. My mind was set on becoming a Springbok which meant that studies would just have to wait.

To be continued… To book a consultation or find out more about Debunking Motivation, click here.

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