There’ve been many inspirational moments during the Rugby World Cup, but one involving 18-year-old Qaphela Gobodo from Paarl hits us in the feels.
At the age of 15, Qaphela was awarded a rugby scholarship for his talent on the field.
Tragedy struck, however, when his schoolmates set him alight at school. Qaphela survived the gruesome attack, and after 20 surgeries to repair the damages following third-degree burn wounds, he is back to playing rugby and has found his calling as a motivational speaker.
Now Qaphela is travelling outside of South Africa for the first time, to Japan on an all-expense-paid trip where he will watch a game he is passionate about and has played for most of his young life.
Heinekin South Africa came to know of the young man’s plight through social media, where a Good Samaritan, Nthabeleng Likotsi, was raising awareness about his story and lobbying for support to make his rugby dreams come true.
The global brand has now undertaken to take him to Japan to see the RWC in person!
Millicent Maroga, corporate affairs director at the company, said:
“Qaphela’s story really inspired us; this young man has experienced much adversity, but refuses to give up or let his circumstances get him down.”
“He might not be on the field in this Rugby World Cup, but we hope the opportunity to watch his rugby heroes battle it out on the sport’s biggest stage will inspire him to have the courage to pursue all his ambitions,” said Maroga.
Qaphela will watch both the semi-finals where the strong Springboks take on Wales, and the epic battle between New Zealand and England.