Karatekas, young and old, receive accolades

2018-02-01 06:00
The Nyanga Goju Kai dojo is 50 years on and still going strong. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

The Nyanga Goju Kai dojo is 50 years on and still going strong. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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Nyanga’s first ever Goju Kai Dojo recently celebrated its 50 year anniversary at the Zolani Centre.

This also marked their opening day for year 2018 and also given their grading certificates.

At the event, long time members of the Dojo, Michael Nomjila, Amos Ragha and Eric Monco were awarded lifelong achievement awards, and were also awarded the Honorary rank of 3rd Dan and the title of Sensei.

The official opening was conducted by Peter Brandon, president of the All Africa Karate Goju who, speaking to members, guests and parents, said that it was very difficult to get the Dojo up and running 50 years ago.

“It was very difficult to enter the township at the time because of the riots. They also didn’t understand why I would come to this area to teach karate.

They used to accuse me of training people to fight the system and I always told them that my guys were peaceful,” said.

Brandon said that there were still challenges today regarding race but things were far better than before.

His son and chief instructor Frank Brandon said the awards were a reward for the resilience of the veterans who carried on despite tough conditions.

“These achievements were given by Goshi Yamaguchi of Japan, the president of the world body for their dedication and commitment to the art of Goju Kai during the harsh apartheid era in South Africa.

Other veterans were also present and were awarded honorary black belts.

They are Sony Sompeta and Samuel Sompeta. Christopher Nomjila(son of Michael Nomjila) who passed his black belt in the 80’s was also present,” he said.

The Brandon family consists of Peter Brandon, Frank Brandon and Amanda Brandon.

They run a NPO called African Warriors of Light whose sole purpose is to develop the human spirit within the youth of South Africa, using karate as a vehicle.

“In this way, contributing to a nation full of vision, energy and hope where individuals can believe that opportunities exist if they work hard, no matter their personal circumstances,” said Frank.

He said that the impact of the training to young people was immeasurable and that they hope to make a difference.

“Goju Kai has a magic you cannot put into words.

It is a magic that you will experience when you see children’s lives have been altered and friendships that last a lifetime are formed.

In post-apartheid South Africa ,there are so many proverbial bridges that need to be built and many more that need to be crossed before an equitable society is established, Goju Kai karate can and will make a difference,” he said.

He added that the African Warriors of Light continues to support its underprivileged students by assisting them to attend competitions locally and to travel to Japan and Europe in exchange programmes.

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