Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE international Khama Billiat yesterday gave back to his former primary school, Gwinyiro, in Mufakose, when he donated a consignment worth R100 000.
The donation was made through his recently-launched Khama Billiat Foundation.
The goods contained soccer and netball kits, cones as well as sanitary pads.
The vision of the Foundation is “to contribute to society by positively impacting on the lives that matter.’’
Billiat, who flew in from Johannesburg with the members of his Foundation, first presented the goods to the school before joining the Warriors at their first session in the afternoon.
The diminutive forward started Grade 2 at Gwinyiro in 1998 having been at Marimba Primary in Grade One.
By the time he was in Grade Three, he was already playing for the school team.
In Grade 5, his brilliance caught Marc Duvillard’s attention who sent his manager from Lord Malvern to the parents with the offer to cater for Billiat’s school needs and fees.
And, by the time he was in Grade Six, Billiat was already boarding planes to feature in football tournaments with Aces Academy.
He was born at Mufakose Clinic on August 19 in 1990.
“I was giving back to the school that l went to. I brought some sanitary pads, soccer kits, netball kits,’’ said Billiat.
“It took long for me to do it, I don’t know why but I thought, maybe, I would do it with the Khama Billiat Foundation.
“It’s still new and we started it not so long ago.
“I found it proper for my team to fly this side and do it here while I am in camp. It is not about soccer only, we just want to try and help as much as we can.
“And, that includes the disadvantaged people and the disabled people.
“Everyone needs help but we should be honest with ourselves that there are some people who need help more than others.’’
Currently eight members are running the Foundation with some members based in Harare while the rest are in South Africa.
And, after making the first donation at his former primary school, the midfielder said the Foundation will venture into more projects.
“I was scared, we didn’t know what to expect since it was my first time but it all went well and we are happy,’’ said Billiat.
“It’s so good to be welcomed in such a way and now we know and we want to do as much as we can to so many lives.’’
At the moment Billiat is wholly financing the Foundation.
“We are trying by all means to get partners who can join us, we have a couple of companies and people willing to help but we thought we had to do it on our own the first time and see how it is,’’ said Billiat
“We are just honest people who want to help as much as we can and we don’t want to have people on the board who have wrong intentions and end up making all of us look bad.
“We have people who have same goals with us, that is to touch so many lives, so we will not just accept offers without a clear idea of what they want.’’
Khama Billiat Foundation spokesperson, Thabang Sibeko, said the interventions would be in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“We recently launched the foundation this year. The whole intention was to get a structured platform to give back to the communities, both here in Zimbabwe and South Africa,’’ he said.
“And, we will still need to do more work because there is so much in terms of people needing some kind of assistance.
“We are not specifically saying we are doing football stuff, there is another important element about the donation, the sanitary pads, so we will see how much difference we can make in people’s lives.’’
Billiat’s mother, Rosa, also attended the ceremony.
Rosa, who is her son’s biggest cheerleader and a devout Christian, said she made the effort to grace the occasion and give it her blessings though she had a bereavement in the family after her sister lost a child.
Gwinyiro school pupils cheered the star during the donation.
Tasha Dube, a Grade 5 pupil who plays basketball, said she had learnt that dreams can come true.
“I was happy that he donated kits to our school. I know him from the television pictures but today I saw him.
“I was also happy that he gave our headmaster a present of a soccer jersey,” she said.
Billiat’s Grade Three teacher, Eunice Mhembere, who is still at the school, also spoke about Khama’s football prowess.
Deputy school headmaster, Anna Chingora, who was already at the school when Khama arrived, paid tribute to the soccer star.
“We feel humbled and really appreciate the warm gesture. Some students never turn their backs once they leave the learning institutions but he spared his time, and finances to come and assist the school.
“He is a good example to all the pupils, especially when you meet someone in flesh and blood, someone you always see on television, you feel the touch of gold and we are really proud of him,” she said.