Ambesa Mgijima from Jeffreys Bay has a vision

2018-06-14 06:01
If you want his attention, just say “En garde trez allez!” – and he is ready for a fight, not with boxing gloves, but with the epée, because Ambesa Mgijima from Jeffreys Bay is passionate about fencing.    Photo:JANNIE HOUGH

If you want his attention, just say “En garde trez allez!” – and he is ready for a fight, not with boxing gloves, but with the epée, because Ambesa Mgijima from Jeffreys Bay is passionate about fencing. Photo:JANNIE HOUGH

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IF you want his attention, just say “En garde trez allez!” – and he is ready for a fight, not with boxing gloves, but with the epée, because Ambesa Mgijima from Jeffreys Bay is passionate about fencing.

This 27-year old, neat as a pin and full of joie de vivre, is a Xhosa who becomes all French the moment he is dressed up and ready for combat.

Ambesa, who hails from Alice and grew up in PE, matriculated in Uitenhage and afterwards attended NMU where he obtained a diploma in Tourism Management, though he is the first one to admit that sport is his main passion. Although he played soccer and cricket at school and also helped to coach soccer teams, he became interested in fencing while studying in Port Elizabeth.

He had never seen fencing in action before attending a session with a friend. Jessica Raper, coach and chairwoman and co-founder of fencing in Eastern Cape, noticed the young men and encouraged him to give it a try. She started teaching him the basics, and once the bug bit him, there was no stopping his ambition. After practising for a year he was part of the University team participating in Bloemfontein and in district competitions for 2 years.

As a student he had been working as a casual for Edgars in PE, but when the company sent him to Jeffreys Bay as a permanent employee, he left the sport for two years. Raper eventually convinced him to continue, and things started happening in October 2017 when she told him about the National Federation of Fencing, and asked whether he was willing to start a fencing club in JBay and act as coach.

He agreed, and after extensive advertising started a club at the Fountains Mall. Equipment was brought from PE and a sizeable number of people became part of the new venture. His coaching proved successful, for his team has done well during the past three inter-district competitions. Two members of the relatively new JBay Fencing Club have participated in Limpopo during the national competition. The club boasts 10 consecrated members.

Ambesa still fences and thinks that his greatest achievement is the privilege to have been the first person of the University team to go to USSA. He mentions quite humbly that, possibly because of his height, he wasn’t really given much of a chance by people who know the game; but the bottom line is that the chairman of the National Federation was rather impressed by his style and skills.

Apart from his enjoying the sport, he feels that he is adding an extra dimension to JBay youth’s social life, because “not everybody is a soccer player.” Apart from that, young people may well be motivated to live a useful social life – being part of some healthy activity instead of going after drugs if life seems boring. His vision is to visit all schools in order to teach the youth a sense of positivity, of belonging and self-worth.

His great dream is to become part of the SA national team, and he mentions the imminent visit of a German fencing team who will be presenting coaching clinics countrywide. Participants may also look forward to the district competition in Durban in September of this year.

Amidst his busy schedule, the rest of his social life creates space for amorous activity, and miss Bulelwa Madola, who has been by his side for three years, completes the picture. He speaks highly of Edgars’ continued willingness to assist him in his endeavours, and is full of praise for the continuous support of Fountains Mall management who provides the venue for his classes, considering especially the time of day practice takes place.

Ambesa is a man with a mission. Watch this space for great things to come.

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