Raymond Ledwaba, Soweto launched Diski Nine9 in 2015 in aid to develop soccer in township areas in SA.
He holds a BCom Accounting degree from the University of Johannesburg, an MBA from the University of Cape Town and has participated in numerous summits. “I’ve figured out what I want to do with my life, I want to work with the youth We need to respond to the massive inequality that we see in our country. A lot of people are living in conditions that are unthinkable” says Ledwaba.
The after-school programme offers sport and academic support through workshops which focus on reading, spelling bees and debating. The community-based initiative has partnered with the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus which has given them access to classrooms and state-of-the-art sports facilities. The workshops are hosted by professionals and focus on career guidance and speak about critical issues like gender-based violence. Former Bafana Bafana captain, Thulani Hlatshwayo is a Diski Nine9 Ambassador, he also runs the leadership workshops for captains.
One of Diski Nine9’s biggest success stories is Fezile Hlophe, a young boy who overcame throat cancer to become SA’s youngest referee at age 15. “We flew to Wales with him to go and see the Amazon Original This is Football documentary where Fezile was featured in,” Ledwaba says. He says witnessing the young boy from the township, struggling with his illness to becoming become a professional referee and have his story told globally meant that we are on the right track as an NPO.
“I want to be officiating in the Absa Premiership, the MTN8, the Telkom Knockout and the Nedbank Cup. And then, in the next six or seven years, I’d like to make the step up to the Champions League, the Confederation Cup and, hopefully, some international games too,” said Hlophe.