Former Kaizer Chiefs star Siphiwe Tshabalala has launched his children’s book called ‘Super Shabba’ in an effort to ‘inspire the African child’.
Tshabalala is known around the world as the man who kicked off the 2010 FIFA World Cup as he scored the opening goal for Bafana Bafana against Mexico at a packed FNB Stadium.
In celebrating his career which saw him earn 90 Bafana caps, [third most capped player, only behind Aaron Mokoena (107) and Itumeleng Khune (91)], ‘Shabba’, as he is affectionately known as, says the story – book is about a boy who grew up in Phiri, Soweto, and always loved football.
“He [the boy] had dreams and wanted to be on the big stage, and then he heard on radio that there were trials. He made the grade but was bullied because of his size and height. However, he didn’t allow anyone to pull him down and he worked hard to be a superhero,” said Tshabalala.
“If you look at it, this is a story about my journey and the FIFA World Cup. The story is meant to inspire the African child. It is about a superhero they can relate to – an authentic story of someone they can bump into at the street corner or at the spaza shop. He is the same skin colour as them, comes from the same background as them.
“It is a story that says even if you had a poor upbringing it doesn’t mean you can’t make it in life – in fact that should inspire you more to change your circumstances.
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#tbt back in 2000/01 playing for Phiri Red Lions at Mando’s tournament in Phiri,those boots with plasters in front that I’m wearing were one size bigger and I borrowed them from a friend for the finals,Ok the gloves were mine😂The greyish hair was inspired by @jabumahlangu12 when he was still playing for @kcfcofficial.I played with/against the best football players at amateur/professional level,some didn’t make it and some did.Im grateful that God chose me.I encountered so many challenges on my journey but I never gave up🙏🏾And as they say:The Rest Is….
“I believe is important in that when we are growing up we tend to want to adopt the Western way, the faraway idols, when in fact we have heroes amongst us – and sometimes we end up losing our identity,” added the former Chiefs midfielder.
‘Shabba’ believes that every child should get his book and says the government’s support is needed to ensure that history is preserved’.
“Once they read the book, they will learn of their own history, they will know the history of 2010 – the significance of the FIFA World Cup, how big it was, what it meant to so many.
The book is written from Grades 3, 4 and 5, and will be available in, for a start, English, Sesotho, IsiZulu and Setswana. The book is part of the story of our journey as a family – focusing on the authentic local stuff. It is about changing mindsets one day at a time,” explained Tshabalala.
The veteran midfielder is offering a helping hand to the less fortunate amid the coronavirus pandemic and the national lockdown.
“It has become apparent that there are so many people who are struggling to make ends meet, and Covid-19 has just made matters worse, so we help where we can.
“I am fortunate that I have asked many people to lend a helping hand and they have never disappointed, and then I also dig deep into my pocket,” he said.
“I am very passionate about this one as I don’t want people to suffer when we can help – I can’t stand to see someone go hungry because we couldn’t help them, it just breaks my heart,” concluded Tshabalala.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi