The boxing cop fighting for kids in his community
Crime. Drug abuse. Gang violence. In smalltown Limpopo, there’s a lot to fight against. As a policeman, Jeffrey Ngobeni enforces the law every day. But his sense of duty to the community extends beyond his day job. Not content with stopping criminals, he wants to confront problems at the source, giving young people sustainable alternatives before they turn to a life of crime. It’s a task the cop is taking on, one blow at a time.
His love for the community is rivalled only by his passion for boxing. Growing up, he saw how others roamed the streets with nothing to do, becoming easy targets for a wayward lifestyle. Instead, Ngobeni spent his high school years training as an amateur boxer, starting with bare-knuckle fights at the age of nine. With no mentors or sponsorship, he was forced to quit the activity that kept him on the straight and narrow and became a policeman instead. But his love for the sport never faltered. With years of experience behind him and a passion for pugilism still burning, he’s now a trained boxing coach and judge with the drive to motivate others. “I just want the kids to become something more,” says Ngobeni.
He has been bringing people together and training them since 2000. It’s gruelling work, demanding patience and dedication. But the rewards are plentiful. Mentees have gone on to compete in provincial tournaments, earning bronze, silver and gold medals along the way. More importantly, he’s bringing kids to a place where there’s hope for a fresh start. They’re learning discipline, perseverance and unity. In a town with few recreational clubs and sporting facilities, it’s more than just a purposeful way to while away the time. It’s a way to fight back. And win.