The Last Word

By Midge van Boxtel | Posted: Wednesday August 16, 2017

In 2010 Luvo Manyonga was the world junior long jumpchampion and had the 2012 Olympic games in his sight.

Twelve months later he found himself addicted to the life destroying drug, crystal meth. Luvo most certainly had a tough upbringing where his father was generally absent from the family home which left his mother raising him and his brother and sister. Coming from a poverty stricken and very dysfunctional area of South Africa, Manyonga seemed to put this aside and his talent for long jump was soon noticed.

Through this tough part in his life where he battled addiction he lost much of his support. One man named John McGrath saw hope and began to get Luvo back on track. One day when McGrath was on route to meet up with Luvo he was killed in a car crash. Luvo was in a terrible place in his life.

So, gentleman I know for a fact that everyone sitting in this auditorium are facing their own challenges in life possibly not as big as Luvo’s but just as important. As I found out in the weekend I didn’t know many of the challenges that my own friends faced and the significance of these challenges was greatly overwhelming. Luvo wanted change, he realized he was in control of his own destiny just like each and every one of you. What happens in the past does not determine what will happen in the future. If you want change or if you want to overcome these challenges you have to be willing to try and willing to succeed. Luvo was willing to try, Luvo was willing to succeed.

What’s special about this is he could have kept spiraling downwards into the dark hole he was already heading to but Luvo was determined to get back on track. His comeback stories would be one of the greatest. He came 2nd in the Rio games last year and just recently he won the 2017 World Championship for Long Jump in London. 

Whenever you face your next challenge deal with it before it’s too late.