Arthur Mayisela foundation a beacon of hope


Arthur Mayisela once known, as the Fighting Prince was no average boxer, is one of the best Boxers South Africa has seen. After his tragic death on 17 September 1986, South Africa was devastated. He was the kind of fighter that hardly lost any fight, a legend in a true sense.  

The Fighting Prince rests in power as his son Steven Mayisela carries his legacy with pride through a foundation called Arthur Mayisela Foundation. The foundation is an implementation and management agency for arts, culture and recreational programs.

The NGO has collaborated with ward counselors in Region D as a prototype to build up activities in other regions so that the programs can eventually involve participants nationally.

The aim of the legacy is to utilize all community centers by introducing different programs involving the youth, people living with disabilities and the elderly.  Mayisela adds by saying: “Our community centers are white elephants because there ae no permanent programs to help develop society, importantly the youth”.

“The only sporting activity that might come across as thriving on the Soweto grounds is football but even that is not appropriately developed” analyzes Steven. In many communities in Soweto, there are facilities such as netball courts, swimming pools and tennis courts but these establishments are not utilized to their maximum potential. There seems to be a lack of structure, which is what the foundation aims to initiate.

Steven has seen how sports, arts and culture can transform lives. His father’s talent in boxing afforded Mayisela’s family an opportunity of a better life. The founder has identified that a well-groomed talented individual’s potential can be life altering, creating opportunities for those around him in return. He is a testimony; Arthur’s beacon of light is seen in his son.  

The foundation has created a weekly calendar in order to manage events in communities. The calendar has scheduled Monday in different wards as Kasi talks. The dialogues created on Mondays are around various topics such as teenage pregnancy, drugs, unemployment and gender-based violence.

These conversations are put in place for the community to find solutions. The long-term goal around Kasi talks is to host conferences and discuss issues affecting South Africa on a larger scale but currently Kasi talks is in the introductory phase.

Tuesdays are theatre nights, where each ward performs poetry, dancing, acting and fashion runways in respective community halls. Theatre nights are not fully operational however they encourage the youth to practice even though there is no audience but every last Tuesday of the month, each ward invites family and friends to show case talents with the plan of making the performances a nationwide program.  Wednesday activities are board games such as cheers, cards and indigenous games.

“People from the townships aren’t aware that they can be part of the Olympics team by being a magnificent recognized cheers player – the aim is to groom them to national exposure” explains Mayisela.

Thursdays are literacy, reading and creative writing days. This program aims to create national book clubs and expose the youth to reading and literacy competency. Lastly, Friday activities are around the elite sports not readily available to an ordinary township child such as rugby, cricket and swimming.

Every ward has appointed an ambassador to coordinate weekly activities. There is a vision aimed at 2023, involving each wards’ full participation in all activities from January to December. The aim is to create massive engagement in regions. “It’s not easy but it has to be done, I’m fighting every day. Luckily, I come from a father that was a fighter so it comes naturally to me”, the founder expresses. 

Steven Mayisela concludes by saying: “we have recently just realized that no one is coming to save us, we need to do this by ourselves and we are no longer willing to wait for another 28 years to see transformation”.

By Sandra Lesenyeho