Makazole Mapimpi Springboks
Photo Cred: Springboks

Makazole Mapimpi’s remarkable rise from adversity to becoming a rugby sensation, capturing hearts worldwide.


France (18 September 2023) – In the world of sports, stories of triumph, resilience, and unwavering spirit often capture our hearts. Bryan Habana and Makazole Mapimpi, two renowned names in South African rugby, recently made global headlines for an incredibly emotional story that reminds us of the power of the human spirit.

According to the Daily Mail, it was on Sunday night, following South Africa’s dominant 76-0 victory over Romania in the Rugby World Cup, that Bryan Habana retold this heartwarming tale.

The spotlight was firmly on Mapimpi, who had showcased his extraordinary talent by scoring three tries during the match. However, it’s not just Mapimpi’s remarkable rugby skills that have garnered attention; it’s his journey, his background, and the immense heart that he brings to the game.

For many South Africans, Mapimpi’s story became widely known through the documentary “Chasing The Sun.” In one unforgettable scene, Rassie Erasmus, the coach of the South African national rugby team, broke down in tears while recounting Mapimpi’s life story. It’s a story that goes beyond the rugby field and touches the very essence of what it means to overcome adversity.

One of the most poignant details of Mapimpi’s journey is the fact that, unlike other players, he had no pictures of family members to put on the back of his jersey during previous World Cups. Instead, his jersey bore only an image of himself. This seemingly small detail speaks volumes about the challenges Mapimpi faced.

Mapimpi’s life was marred by tragedy from a young age. Raised by his grandmother, he had already lost his mother, brother, and sister before he became a household name in the world of rugby. Erasmus, the man who coached him, was curious about why Mapimpi didn’t have pictures of family members on his jersey like the rest of the players. The answer was both heartbreaking and inspiring.

“On the back of your jersey, there are numbers where you could have photos of family members. He only had photos of himself,” Erasmus revealed. “He didn’t have anyone else, and I asked ‘Why are you doing this?’ He said: ‘I’ve got nobody’. You know his brother died, his mother died, he doesn’t have a photo. He doesn’t play for one thing; he just has a massive heart. Massive heart.”

Mapimpi’s journey from the harshest personal conditions to international rugby stardom is nothing short of extraordinary. He emerged from what can only be described as ‘the most hopeless situation’ to become a beacon of hope, not only for South Africans but for people worldwide. His story transcends the boundaries of the rugby pitch. It reminds us that, in the face of adversity, with a resilient spirit and an unwavering heart, one can achieve the seemingly impossible.

But his story is not just about rugby; it’s about the triumph of the human spirit and the indomitable will to rise above life’s challenges.

Sources: Daily Mail | EuroSport | PlanetRugby | Chasing The Sun 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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