Mafikeng student plays for South Africa
Playing for the national team is a far-fetched dream for many. For Lebohang Monyatsi, a final year psychology student at NWU’s Mafikeng campus, the dream has become reality when she was selected for South Africa’s Wheelchair Basketball team.
The team recently returned from Mexico where the South Africans played in a qualification tournament in Guadalajara. Although the South African team did not qualify for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Lebohang – who was named best shooter of her team – is hoping they will qualify for next year’s event.
“Mexico was great and the people friendly. Although I struggled to adjust to the environment because of the time differences, I got used to it as time went by,” she said.
Lebohang, who hails from Vryburg but spent most of her life in boarding school at Gelukspan, has been playing basketball for the past seven years. She now plays for both the provincial and national Wheelchair Basketball teams. The game has taken her to all but two provinces of South Africa and, in 2009, to South America.
“My family and friends have been really supportive, especially my grandmother. She has helped me to keep pushing on.” Her perseverance has brought Lebohang success in her sport and studies. She wants to be a clinical psychologist, because “I want to help people help themselves, help them to solve their problems. I believe that helping someone is invaluable.”
Her motto in life is: When you play, play hard but when you work, don’t play at all. When asked whether she had a message of motivation for other sportspeople, she responded with “Never give up! Whether you’re playing locally or provincially, you will achieve success if you persist.”