EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES THROUGH SPORT: THE INSPIRING JOURNEY OF LEHLOHONOLO “HLONI” MADUNA

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By Lerato Khateane

  • Lehlohonolo “Hloni” Maduna’s journey from Ficksburg to becoming a pivotal figure in sports and community development epitomises dedication and passion.
  • Starting as an admin clerk at the Department of Social Development, Maduna’s trajectory led him to serve as the Personal Assistant to the Chief Director of Social Welfare Services, while also chairing the Social Development Sport committee.
  • Beyond his professional duties, Maduna’s commitment to sports extends to facilitating youth sports awards, coordinating indigenous games programmes, and ensuring access to sports facilities for communities, earning him recognition as a distinguished volunteer in the Free State Sports Awards.

Lehlohonolo “Hloni” Maduna was born in Ficksburg but attended primary school in Pimville, Soweto. Following his father’s relocation to Bloemfontein, he continued his high school education at Hillside View, where he obtained his matric certificate. He then pursued further studies at Motheo TVET, where he earned a National Diploma in Business Management.

In 2004, Maduna joined the Department of Social Development as an admin clerk and later served as acting Personnel Assistant to the Director of Children (Social Welfare Services). Recognised for his excellent performance, he was appointed permanently as Personal Assistant (PA) to the Chief Director of Social Welfare Services in 2018. Additionally, he serves as the Chairperson of the Social Development Sport committee under the Employee Health and Wellness support.

Lehlohonolo Maduna’s involvement in sports was sparked and nurtured by Mr Pule Rhee Pitso, founder of the Mangaung Metro Football Association and a former administrator and player for the former Bloemfontein Celtic football team. Initially recruited into the football association administration by Pitso, Maduna rose through the ranks, eventually being elected as the General Secretary of SAFA Bloemfontein. His leadership skills were further recognised when communities voted for him to serve as the General Secretary of SAFA Mangaung Metro.

Outside of his professional environment, Maduna remains actively engaged in various sports organisations based in the Free State, including SAFA Mangaung and the Sports Confederation, an affiliate of SASCOC (South African Sports Confederation Committee).

Currently, Maduna is deeply involved in the organising committee for the SAFA Sports Awards for youth across various sports in Mangaung Metro. This initiative is conducted in collaboration with key stakeholders such as the Mangaung Metro Municipality, Interstate Bus Line, and Sports Council.

In addition to his regular duties as a Personal Assistant (PA), Maduna takes on unique responsibilities within the Social Welfare Services in the Chief Directorate department. In 2010, Social Development seconded him to assist the Free State Government in preparations for the first-ever World Cup held in the country. During this time, he played a pivotal role in coordinating food and clothing distribution for children living on the streets. Furthermore, he facilitated opportunities for these children to meet visiting countries and their soccer icons during World Cup games held in the Free State province, including teams from Spain, Germany, and France.

In 2016, Maduna was called upon to assist the Department with the implementation of the Active Ageing and Golden Games programme, dedicated to sports activities for older persons. Since then, he has played a crucial role in ensuring the success of the initiative. Among his key responsibilities are managing logistics, processing registrations and identities for various sporting codes (including track events, field events, and football), and ensuring the overall health and well-being of all participants throughout the three-day events.

Furthermore, Maduna is tasked with reporting directly to the Minister of Social Development and maintaining communication with various supporting bodies, stakeholders, and sponsors. These include the Office of the Premier, the Department of Sports, Arts, Culture, and Recreation, the Department of Health, SAPS, and other participating departments at local, provincial, and national levels.

On 2 June 2020, Maduna participated in the launch of the Chommy Programme, held in Ficksburg and hosted by the Office of the Deputy Minister, Mrs Bokgopane Zulu, along with the Office of the Premier and the Department of Social Development. During the programme, he took on the role of Inkanyiso, a mascot character, and engaged in various indigenous games. The Chommy Programme aims to raise awareness, develop skills, and empower children to make decisions that will reduce HIV infections, drug misuse, and teenage pregnancies.

“The DSD together with other participating departments have achieved in so many aspects in the Golden Games and had opened opportunities for older persons to travel to different provinces and introducing others into different sporting games” says Maduna. He emphasises that Active Aging sports activities should take place with adherence to the rules and regulations to ensure compliance at all times.

On a voluntary basis, Maduna is dedicated to ensuring that sports facilities are accessible to communities, particularly sports organisations. He liaises with the Mangaung Metro Municipality and collaborates closely with them to ensure that facilities are well-maintained for the safety of all users. Additionally, he assists university sports with administration during National University Sports events and has played a key role in establishing local football structures in various towns to foster sports development from a young age, starting at 11 years old. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Maduna was honoured with the Best Volunteer of the Year award in the Free State Sports Awards in 2022, among other accolades.

 

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