Madala: A story of a boy’s dreams, hopes and perseverance [Watch]December 12, 2017
Football is more than just a game. It transcends religious, political, geographical and even age barriers. No wonder it is one of the most loved sports globally. As a tool, the sport is being used as a tool to preach equality, peace and hope and this message of hope is evident in the story of Fezile Hlophe, a boy who at 16 years officiated a Multichoice Diski Challenge match between Kaizer Chiefs and University of Pretoria.
Not a lot of people are familiar with the name Fezile Hlophe but in South Africa, he is the youngest referee ever in South African football history to officiate in an official football game. But it hasn’t always been about refereeing for young Fezile, but football has always being in his heart. As a six year-old boy, he started off as a footballer playing as a striker for his team.
Fezile’s story is one of hope, perseverance and a never-ending determination to beat the odds. At age 13, he was diagnosed with throat cancer and this stopped him from attending school and going to football matches as he spent more than 9 months in the hospital receiving treatments.
Diski Nine9, a football development initiative, discovered and supported his desire to take his passion to the next level. And now he officiates in South Africa’s PSL Reserve League.
The story of Fezile Hlophe is one that is worth learning about and a short film has being produced by Absa bank as part of its initiative “Prosper”. The short film titled “Madala” – meaning old one in Zulu, a name Fezile is now being called- chronicles his early life, dreams, his battle with cancer and his triumph, and his emergence in the South African football history books.