Some people get knocked down and stay down, they allow negativity to take a hold of them. Of their lives. And it becomes hard, if not impossible, to pick themselves up again. Which is why when you come across someone who has been knocked down, hard, and managed to get up again, you need to share their story. This is the story of George Khosi.
In 1997 George Khosi, former South African heavyweight, was involved in a brutal robbery that left him near dead. In an instant his lifelong dream of being a boxing champion abruptly ended. George was unable to box competitively anymore due to the injuries he sustained, but boxing was a big part of him, and he couldn’t let it go.
George wanted to do something for the children in his community. He was a street child himself and knew how boxing changed his life. After a two year recovery George decided he wanted to open up a boxing gym. After a few years of teaching boxing at a centre run by Rhema Church, George then managed to open up the George Khosi Hillbrow Boxing Club in 2004.
What was once an old petrol station in one of Joburgs most notoriously dangerous suburbs, Hillbrow, is now a haven for young street children, a place for boxing champions to be born and a place for the most unusual mixture of people to come together. It’s a place where no matter what walk of life you come from, you will be welcomed. And you will feel safe.
“I want to take kids off the street. Instead of them standing around doing nothing, they must come here and I will keep them busy. We will help them. We teach them self defence, and make sure they stay out of trouble,” says George.
All George wants is to see the young boys and girls in his club achieve their dreams.
“I pray for more champions. My dream is for my boys and girls to become champions, that they are still able to make it.”
George proudly announces that he is taking three of the kids to a tournament on the upcoming weekend. You can see his love for these kids, and how proud he is of them. He is now helping these kids follow their dreams of being boxing champions, a dream he never managed to achieve on his own.
With a coach like George, these kids really do have the chance to be the greatest. The Hillbrow Boxing Club is the home of four-time women’s welterweight champion of South Africa, Rita Mrwebi. Rita started off her boxing career in George’s hands when she was young and continues to train at the Hillbrow Boxing Club. He has raised a champion in Rita and is sure to have a few more following in her footsteps.
“I want to change people’s lives.”
You are able to see the changed lives in each little face that is hanging around the boxing club and staying out of trouble, and in each adult that is fighting in the ring instead of fighting on the street.
With a smile, and friendly grace, George is like your favourite uncle. He’s there to help you, to protect you and make sure you’re on the right path.
“We are just trying to do something good for the community. Our challenge is getting people to support us. I just wish the parents of the kids would support us.”
The Hillbrow Boxing Club also needs support from their greater community in terms of donations. The facilities that the club has are humble to say the least. Boxing gloves, boxing bags, weights and any other gym equipment would be greatly appreciated.
They work with what they have, but some new stuff would make their lives a whole lot better. George is also calling out for help with transport. He often takes some of the kids to tournaments and needs help with transporting them there.
If you are in any way able to help them out contact George on 082 260 4804. Or visit their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/HillbrowBoxingClub.