Football stories

Rising from the township

The Inspiring story of Joshua Zwane

Join us as we delve into the heart-wrenching journey of Joshua Zwane, from tragedy and loss to finding hope on the football field.

Khayelitsha, Cape Town: 6 year old Joshua after his parents got murdered (Orphanage)
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Joshua zwane

Welcome to TheTeam, Joshua.
It's an honor to have you here today.

"Thank you for having me."

We'd like to take you back in time to your childhood in Township Khayelitsha in Cape Town, South Africa. Can you describe the day that changed your life forever?

"Of course. I'll never forget that day. It was a warm summer evening, and my family and I had just finished dinner. My father had taken out a loan the day before to move to a new location, hoping to start a fresh life for us all. Little did we know, our lives were about to change in a devastating way."

What happened next?

"That fateful night, the sound of pounding on our makeshift door echoed through our small home in Khayelitsha. My father went to answer the door. But before he could even reach for the handle, two armed men barged in, their eyes fixated on the cash my father had just acquired a day prior.

My mother and father bravely tried to calm down the situation and to defend themselves, but the robbers were relentless. Shots after shot rang out, piercing the air and shattering our lives forever. I watched in horror as the two people I loved most in this world were taken from me, leaving me alone and scared in a cruel, violent world. It was a moment that would haunt me for the rest of my life."

That must have been a traumatic experience.

"It was. After the robbers left, I tried to call for help, but I couldn't find the strength to speak. I was taken to the hospital, where I was later placed in an orphanage. The days that followed were a blur of pain and sadness. I felt lost and alone, with no family or home to call my own."

How did you find hope in such a dark time?

"Finding hope amidst darkness was a journey that started for me months later at the orphanage. It was a simple ball gifted to me by a kind worker that sparked my passion for soccer and gave me a sense of purpose, serving as an outlet to channel my emotions and escape from the harsh realities of my life. I dedicated myself to the sport, training relentlessly day in and day out, no matter the weather, using makeshift goals and improvising with the limited resources available. Through these practices, I honed my skills in dribbling, passing, and shooting. But it wasn't just the sport that gave me hope, it was also the friends I made among the other children at the orphanage. Together, we bonded over the game and found joy and happiness in our friendly matches. Football became a beacon of hope in my life."

Joshua (13) playing his first time for the local cape town football team 

And that's when you realized your passion for football.

"Exactly. Football became my escape, my way to cope with the trauma and pain of losing my parents. I would spend hours on the field, lost in the game and the thrill of the competition. The more I played, the more I felt like I was finally finding a place to belong. I was determined to become the best football player I could be, to honor my parents, and to make something of my life.

And then, one day, my dedication and skill on the field was noticed by a scout. Someone at the orphanage had a friend who was scouting for the local soccer team, and they were impressed by what they saw. The scout offered me a chance to try out for the team, and I jumped at the opportunity. I worked hard and proved my worth over and over, and soon I was a proud member of a professional football team.

Your football story is truly inspiring, Joshua. Thank you for sharing it with us today.

"Thank you. I hope that my story can show others that, no matter how difficult life may get, there is always a way to find hope and happiness. And for me, that way was through football."

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