Football star Ayanda Patosi was almost in tears during his visit to homes around Khayelitsha, the largest township in Cape Town, earlier on Friday.
Patosi, who’s from Khayelitsha, is living a comfortable life playing for Iranian club, Foolad, on loan from Cape Town City. But having grown up in the impoverished area, he was delighted to partner with The Mark Mayambela Foundation to offer a helping hand to those in need in these difficult times following the Coronavirus outbreak that has resulted in many deaths around the world.
Patosi, together with Mayambela, handed out food parcels and though Patosi is familiar with the surroundings having grown up in the area, he was left emotional, but grateful to Mayambela for engaging him to help out the community.
“It means a lot to me to give back to the unfortunate people… to also give them hope that they can achieve what they want, because I also come from the same situation. I’m no different to them, you understand. It’s not just about giving money or food, but your presence means a lot to them, because it gives them hope that they can achieve things. Where they live now is only temporary,” Patosi told FARPost in an exclusive interview on Friday.
“That’s why it’s very important to go to schools or do something for people who think their lives cannot be better, you understand… it makes me feel good when I go to the townships and the kids are calling themselves Ayanda Patosi. It’s great to see such things because I can see I’m inspiring the kids in the townships,” he continued.
“So it was great to partner with Mark. I’ve known him for a very long time, but sometimes we speak and sometimes we don’t speak.”
However, when Mayambela put in a call earlier this week to Patosi, the conversation was an important one, with the community in mind.
“I can’t say we are really, really close friends, but he’s from Khayelitsha and I’m from Khayelitsha. He’s played his part in football and he’s someone that people know,” Patosi said.
“When he called me on Wednesday he told me, ‘Pato, we need to do this for the community’ and I said to him, ‘this is a great idea, you don’t need to explain’. I was in and we went to buy the groceries,” Patosi continued.
While handing out the food, Patosi was touched by the community’s poor living conditions, but was glad that the Foundation played its part in trying to ease their burdens.
“Ah man, it really hurt. We went to one grandmother and what hurt the most was when she received her food package, and she started crying. She stays in a very difficult situation, a very difficult place… I almost cried,” he admitted.
But there were some laughs too…
Patosi shared the story: “There was one guy wearing an Orlando Pirates t-shirt and he stood up to thank the Mayambela Foundation and after that he said, ‘But you Patosi you are trouble’ because I used to score against Pirates when I was at Cape Town City. But it was nice and they were all happy.
“It was good man… it was good to see influential people from the same township coming together to help a community in need and I hope, and I’m not putting pressure on anyone, but there are many players in Cape Town and it would be great to see us come together to help the community,” added Patosi.
Even more importantly, Mayambela shared a message on social media platform Twitter, reminding the nation to follow the guidelines created by the government in a bid to flatten the curve and save the nation from this dangerous disease.
FARPost salutes the Mayambela Foundation and Patosi for teaming up to help out the community in these difficult times.
By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa