South Africa: The Rose of Soweto Dingaan Thobela On a Mission to Unearth New Champions

Boxing legend Dingaan Thobela visits mentor Norman Hlabane and displays on an amazing profession and the long run.

A ripple of pleasure fills the Hands of Stone Boxing Academy fitness center in Central Western Jabavu in Soweto when coach Norman Hlabane walks in with a well-known determine – former world light-weight boxing champion Dingaan Thobela, aka The Rose of Soweto.

But the buzzing children maintain again from approaching their hero.

“Bra Norman is a strict man and discipline comes first when you work with him,” Thobela explains, as Hlabane turns away a youth who had randomly walked into the fitness center claiming to be a future champion.

Thobela and Hlabane have loved one thing of a son-father relationship since 1983, once they first began working collectively.

“My father realised I liked fighting, just like him. So he spoke to his friend, Bra Norman [Hlabane], to rope me in at his gym as one of his amateur fighters,” remembers the champ, who initially dreamt of being a kung fu fighter like his idol Bruce Lee.

Thobela was born Bongani Mahlangu however was renamed Dingaan by his paternal grandmother when he was a toddler.

Hlabane’s Hands of Stone Boxing Academy is known as in honour of the…

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