Three years ago, Mosela and her husband, Thabo Motsoari, were inspired by an organisation called Lesedi Educare, which helped them see the potential in their communities. The Motsoaris decided to start a soccer team to help keep the young children of Mokoena in Thaba Nchu occupied.
It all began with their five-year-old son’s soccer ball, which was all they had. They told all the young children they would be playing soccer at the nearby field the next day. Mosela said she was overwhelmed by the amount of children who arrived to join the team.
Their biggest challenge, however, was that there were already other groups practising soccer at the field. This was the only field available to the community. This is when they decided to also start a homework programme, so that when the soccer field was occupied, the children could concentrate on completing their school work.
Mosela says she then started working together with the teachers at Mokoena and Phothogae Primary schools, to ensure that the extra attention she gave the learners was benefiting them at school. She has a close relationship with the teachers, who often inform her if some of the youngsters she takes care of in the afternoon, aren’t performing well in class.
Bad school marks mean no soccer for the youngsters. This is how Mosela found a way to integrate good marks with the rewards of playing soccer and having fun.
Parents in the community have also welcomed the programme Mosela has introduced. Many of them appreciate the fact that their children have something to do after school. And if they come home late from work, they know that Mosela and Thabo Motsoari will look after their children, and make sure their homework is done.
The Motsoaris do not have much, but with the little that they have, they have dedicated themselves to better their community and its youth. It was tough in the beginning, especially when they wanted to enter soccer tournaments. The regulations often include soccer kits and unused soccer balls.
Thabo coaches the soccer teams and he says the first time they enetered a tournament was difficult as they had no soccer kits. They only had an old soccer ball. This is when one of the parents, Dipuo Maputla, donated a few roadworks bibs. They sewed them together, wiped clean their soccer ball, hoping it would look new, and went to go play in their first tournament, wearing their grey school shorts and playing barefoot.
Thabo says when they won the under 19 boys’ team tournament last year and represented Thaba Nchu at the World Vision Cup, they became even more motivated and determined to make a success of their lives. They now have boys playing for under 13, 15, 17 and 19 teams as well as two girls’ teams. Some of the other children also take part in traditional dance, gumboot dancing and choral music as a way of raising funds for their soccer teams.
Mosela’s mother, Dora Makhamadela, often helps out where she can, even though her only income is her pension grant. The two young adults, Thabo and Mosela, are both unemployed and often do piece jobs or sell sewn objects such as cushions to make a few rand. The one thing the Butterflies need to help them keep going, is sponsorship, which they’ve struggled to obtain since they started. The team needs uniforms, soccer balls, and if possible, their own soccer field to practise on when the public one is being used.
To help the Butterflies ,you can call Mosela at 063-304-0017 or 081-073-8038, or visit her facebook page: Mosela Motsoari. – Seithati Semenokane