Coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing in most countries and makes a toll on the life of people. This has been no different in South Africa that has its fair share of struggle to keep the lockdown intact and help those in need during these hard times.
Fortunately, there are some good stories that can keep us human beings noted love and caring is where it is most needed. Welterweight contender Paul Kamanga knows what poverty means and has not forgotten to give back when he realized many people are in suffer in his neighborhood.
It all started with a single package of groceries to a nearby family, but it quickly became a day-by-day activity for the Johannesburg-based Kamanga (21-2, 12 KOs).
“When we first heard about the coronavirus, we were not really concerned about it as we should have. But we soon got a grip of how serious the situation was when the president of the country announced the lockdown,” started the 26-year-old athlete.
“The lockdown in itself was a huge decision. You see South Africa is very divided with one side being very rich and at the bottom end of that the masses being very poor and so lockdown and self-isolation was impossible for many people in the country. Many places people have to walk distances to get water from the river and other places there is one or two central water taps for people to share.”
Kamanga, who has won regional titles of both the WBC and the WBA during his still young pro career had been preparing for a May comeback fight in South Africa when the virus froze all boxing activities in the country.
“It is very, very difficult for us athletes. Many of us had scheduled fights that were canceled due to this. And the fear we have is we do not know when this will all end, and we can get back to the gym and compete again. Now with this being the only source of income many athletes have found it hard to make ends meet.”
The Congo-born pugilist, however, did not fall into depression. Instead, he kept motivating his followers on his various social media platforms to stay physically active in order to reserve mental health, and also step in action to help those in need.
“I quickly realized many people are suffering during the lockdown, so I reached out and was shook to find out how many people are without food during this difficult time. So, I reached out to a friend who owns a business and we did one drive where we fed a few families and the joy in the people’s faces really touched my heart so, I decided to continue with this drive for the time being.”
For Kamanga, understand the situation of the less fortunate citizens come from the heart as he himself experienced such times as a child.
“I grew up in a very poor area called Rosettenville in the south of Johannesburg. I thank God he has taken me out of poverty, but I know many families that I grew up with that are still in this situation.”
“Everything is just from donation. I post updates on my social media pages and people can reach out to me if they want to donate or if they are in need. I have been having a lot of people donate and a lot of people asking for help, so it has been a blessing really. God has just opened doors during this time where we’ve been able to help not only with food but clothing and protective gear such as masks and sanitizers and gloves,” said Kamanga, who also made sure to try to convince others to be active and help.
“This is a message to all athletes and celebrities. Times are tough and we need to work together but from afar. We do not know what the future holds and as scary as that may be. The present is very tough for many people so let’s reach out and give a helping hand in every way possible.”
You can reach Tomi Pradarics at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @TomiPradarics.