Xolani is a perfect example of someone who used sport to overcome his struggles. As a new runner, his goal is to run the 2018 Comrades Marathon.

Xolani Blessing Mbhele was born in 1983 in Umzumbe, in the tribal area of KWA-Hlongwa. At the age of 12 his father died, leaving the family bereft and poverty stricken. There was many mornings where Xolani went to school on an empty stomach and on some days he was forced to go to the neighbours to beg for food to ensure that he and his family had something to eat.

Xolani and his family had to return to his mother’s family, which meant changing schools. He attended Buhlebethau High School and matriculated in 2002. His mother found employment as a domestic worker in Port Shepstone with a very caring family, who arranged for Xolani to get funding through Ziphakamisa to attend the FET College in Port Shepstone.  Unfortunately, these funds soon dried up and he started working as an electrician’s assistant. In 2005, whilst working at Metrofile, he registered at UNISA to study social work. As a registered social worker, Xolani is now a much-needed member of the South Coast Hospice team.

Due to his own circumstances, he has great empathy and compassion for the people he serves within this community, especially children. The work he does can be extremely stressful.  After joining the Hospice team, his passion for running started as a way of being able to de-stress. He met Pardon Mathebula, from the UGU Athletics Club, who identified his potential as a runner and encouraged him to pursue this. This quiet unassuming man says, “It is not about the winning, but it is in the finishing. It is about never giving up despite all the challenges I have faced.  I would love to complete The Comrades Marathon, representing South Coast Hospice and the UGU Athletics Club.  Maybe I could be a good example to the youth I work with and show them, that despite difficulties, there is always hope, and encourage them to pursue their dreams.”

If you would like to support Xolani in order for him to qualify for C-BATCH please click on the link