LIFE

Karate helps Cape Town kids fight and keep away from crime (VIDEO)



CAPE TOWN, June 7 — In Cape Town's Khayelitsha township, students from five to 18 are practising karate.

It's about self-defence and self-discipline...

But its also an alternative to the crime and gang violence that ravages the community outside...

Monwabisi Njomba is the man behind the programme... He started the martial arts gym in 2012...

Njomba says: “I see there's a lot of soccer and cricket and all that stuff but I choose to take karate because I started karate in early age. And then I see to me, that karate is the best sport and discipline. So to influence them it's easy because I know karate it's the sport of discipline.”

Screengrab from the Reuters video on Cape Town's karate kids.Screengrab from the Reuters video on Cape Town's karate kids.And he says discipline is what's needed in the township...a place with a notorious reputation for rampant crime.

It costs the students at Njomba Fitness Academy US$12 (RM51) a month to participate but they say, it's worth every penny.

Student Nwabisa Mntuwedwa says: “It changed my life because I'm no longer like sitting on the corners and sitting with friends on the streets and it keeps me busy most of the time.”

Another student Mzikayise Mgudlwa says: “It has taught me how to do things the right way and I often think of when you get into a fight, you think twice about doing something.”

Njomba's client base has grown to include adults too, who frequent the gym for morning karate lessons and aerobics...

And now he's looking for sponsors so he can afford equipment for his students, some of whom have qualified for an international karate competition in Canada in September.

In the meantime, Njomba says, if his classes can at least keep a few kids focused on karate, rather than other, more dangerous activities... he'll have done his job. — Reuters

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