MOLEPOLOLE: Boxer, Tefo Maitewa's life was cut short at the young age of 22 last year. He was part of the boxing national team that competed at the Africa qualifiers in Senegal.
The future was looking bright for the young boxer but unfortunately, he passed on due to a brain tumour. He was the 2017 and 2019 national flyweight and bantamweight champion. It has been more than a year since his death leaving behind his mother, who depended a lot on him. His mother still gets teary-eyed when her son is mentioned and could not rein in her emotions during the handover of a tuckshop and house by the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this week.
Speaking at the handover, BNSC chief executive officer (CEO), Tuelo Serufho said they expected a lot from Maitewa.
“When he passed on, we were hopeful that Maitewa would qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. After his funeral, we had pledged to assist the family. Their son had brought us together. BoBA also played a critical role in this family. We are always crucified that we only care about athletes when they win medals but if we could, we would do more,” he said.
Serufho said boxing worked with the Maitewa’s family and connected electricity to the homestead, did renovations and installed a water tank. He said the BNSC through its corporate social investment, assists members of the community. He said when they reached out to the Maitewa family, they agreed on a tuck shop with electricity and stock for the start-up.
Serufho said they hope that the tuck shop will be successful and become a supermarket. He said they will be there to offer support. He said the sport is no longer a pastime but a livelihood. He said in most instances, athletes stand a chance to be more successful than professionals. He said parents should encourage their children to play sport.
BoBA president, Gilbert Khunwane said when Maitewa was due to be released from hospital, it was realised that he needed special care.
“There was no electricity in this yard by then. The social workers were able to assist us to make that happen. BNSC assisted us with over P100,000. That gave the family the much-needed dignity,” he said.
Khunwane said somebody might ask why the Maitewa family, but it is an example of discipline. He said Maitewa was a disciplined athlete who never gave them problems.
“I was the team manager when we went to the African Olympic qualifiers in Dakar in February 2020. He is someone that I am proud to celebrate,” he said.
Maitewa made a mark in the boxing fraternity during the 2015 Botswana Games.
Sport development officer at Molepolole Stadium, Healer Modiradilo spoke about Maitewa's rare qualities.
“When I first saw him, I realised that he was southpaw, which was something rare amongst our boxers. He had talent and was hardworking. He was also a role model for the young boxers in Molepolole. They looked up to him and he even motivated the Kweneng team to win a medal at the 2019 Botswana Games. He made a huge contribution in our district,” Modiradilo said.
Maitewa travelled with the national team to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as a sparring partner. Despite his young age, Maitewa was poised for greatness in the ring.