JOHANNESBURG – NM Tsuene High School in Ga-Rankuwa came to a standstill recently when former pupil and Banyana Banyana star Bontle Mashilo paid them a visit as part of the Sasol #Limitless internship programme.
The aim was for the 26-year old Tshwane Univeristy of Technology (TUT) Ladies team forward to inspire the youth at her former high school.
Launched in July 2019, the #Limitless internship programme forms part of the initiative from Sasol and the South African Football Association (Safa) where women footballers are given an opportunity to gain work experience and become skilled in various fields – marketing, public relations, sports activities and project management.
Through this programme – Mashilo and fellow Banyana Banyana star Jermaine Seoposenwe – have been given the opportunity to work at leading sports marketing agency Levergy, Sasol and also at Safa.
“It felt good to be back at my former high school. I just hope I was able to inspire and motivate the girls at the school, knowing that I was once in their shoes facing the same challenges,” said an elated Mashilo after meeting the pupils who embraced her presence.
“I wanted them to understand the importance of balancing sports and education, because playing football is not a lifelong career.
"Women in football need to pursue other careers as well, because if you get an injury like myself, you need something to fall back on while you recover, or should you no longer be able to play.
“This is why I’m so grateful to Sasol and Safa for the #Limitless internship programme, because through it, I have received a chance to explore and gain work experience outside of football.”
Summarising the day’s event, NM Tsuene high school principal, Nico Matshele, said: “We are happy to see one of our former pupils return to inspire our learners.
"We are proud of Bontle’s achievements, despite the challenges she faced while growing up. I hope she comes back again because we need local heroes like her to show other learners that it’s possible to achieve their dreams despite their circumstances.”
Mashilo matriculated from the school in 2010.
Two years after finishing her secondary education, the youngster went on to receive a studying bursary from TUT, paving the way for her to joining the team that is currently champions of the South African women’s championship, the Sasol National League.
Mashilo holds a BTech Degree in Sport Management and is currently studying towards an MTech in Organisational Leadership.
She completed her term at Sasol last month, and is now working at Safa. Mashilo will return to Levergy to finish off her internship.
The #Limitless internship programme will run until June 2019 and aims to give more women footballers the same opportunity in the future.
African News Agency (ANA)
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