- A young man faced an uncertain future when his father passed away and was given a second chance through sport
- He was selected to represent KwaZulu-Natal in basketball and was noticed by an organisation that changed his life
- The young man has decided to give other children the same chance he got and now coaches basketball
Archange Kalonji lost everything when his family fled from the violent and politically unstable Democratic Republic of Congo. For a time he found happiness playing soccer, his father was his biggest supporter.
In 2004 tragedy struck when his dad died from meningitis and Kalonji lost all direction and purpose in life.
“I lost a male figure in my life,” Kalonji says. “I had nobody to look up to and this led me on to the wrong path.”
Briefly.co.za learhed that his family relocated to Durban, this is where he was exposed to basketball when he came across some children playing basketball at a church according to beautifulnews.co.za.
He joined them out of curiosity and kept coming back. At school, he attended trials and was chosen for both the school teams and the KZN U13 team.
It was the start of a journey that would change his life. PeacePlayers International SA, a Laureus Sports for Good project, recognised that Kalonji had real talent and mentored the young man. With hard work and determination, Kalonji won a scholarship to attend Durban High School and became the schools youngest player to join the first team at 14.
“We all have known loss in one way or another,” Kalonji says. “It’s how we overcome it that makes each of our champions.”
Once he matriculated he decided to go back to the organisation that helped him find his direction in life and now coaches basketball.
“I want to help other kids like me to nourish their talent and help them have the same opportunities as what I have received,” he says.
As a PeacePlayers coach, he has the opportunity to train young school children who, like him, can be saved through sport.
“Just yesterday I faced death, and today my future is bright,” Kalonji says.
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