Together with the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, we have set up a scholarship program. In this way, we enable a student to graduate who could not afford it with his own financial means. Our scholarship holder is called Rusche Petersen and comes from the Township Manenberg. With our funding in April 2020, he was able to officially enroll in the “Sport, Development and Peace” course. Rusche is an impressive young person with a moving story that he tells us here himself.
|Date of birth||14.04.1995|
|Languages||Afrikaans (mother tongue)|
|Residence||Manenberg, Cape Town|
|Employment||Student (Sport, Development and Peace – University of the Western Cape)|
|Education||BA Sport Science, Recreational and Exercise Science (UWC, 2014-2018)|
A Levels (Matric Endorsement), Phoenix Secondary in Manenberg
Primary School, Willows Primary in Heideveld
|Interests||Sports (especially Football, Rugby, Cricket and Tennis)|
My parents’ house is in Manenberg, a township in Cape Town. During my childhood I lived alternately in Manenberg and the neighboring town of Heideveld. I recently moved from Heideveld to my parents’ home in Manenberg. I live here with my father, sister, her four children and my two brothers. You could say it’s pretty crowded in my home, and maybe even ask how I can keep my focus on college. The truth is that it helps me stay motivated and determined to get out of there.
Many young people from the townships are so used to seeing bad things that they think this is the only way. But there is more in life – although you should never forget where you come from. Everything I’ve been through has shaped the person I am today and I wouldn’t change that for anything. I admit that my life wasn’t always easy, but it could have been worse. Sometimes life leads you in other ways than the one you planned, but that can also be a nice thing.Rusche
Unfortunately, my two brothers have had problems with drugs for a long time. Personally, I don’t feel that I’ve had the best support from my family so far. My brothers encouraged me to become like them instead of helping me not to make the same mistakes. However, I realised very early that only I can determine who I want to be, where I want to go and what kind of life I want to live. Everything is up to me and the decisions that I make myself. My brothers have given my family a very hard time for years – so it was no surprise to me when my mother collapsed under the stress at some point. She died of cardiac arrest four years ago. My brothers’ mistakes only made me more determined not to become like them. I want to give my children a much better life than what I had in my childhood. I think I’m on the right track: After all, I’m the first member of my family to go to university or even graduate from high school. I think if I had gotten more support I could have gone further, but everything has its time.
I love a lot of sports, especially soccer, rugby, cricket, tennis and now handball and cycling. After participating in Absa Cape Epic as a doping guide last year, I really wanted to learn more about the world of cycling. For me as a sports scientist it was only natural that I became curious. I wanted to know how it all worked, wanted to know more about factors such as energy conversion and understand the differences between the good and the real top athletes – they can be so minimal and yet have such a big impact! For example, your diet on race day can make the difference between a win and a second place. I find that fascinating.
Of all sports, I have to say that I love rugby and soccer more than anything else, but sports in general has always been my life. My superstar is actually in your league: Jadon Sancho. I am a big Manchester United fan and hope that one day I can see a game in Old Trafford – it would make a dream come true.
In addition to sports, I also have a lot of other interests. I am involved in the “peace writers project”, which gives young people the opportunity to write down their life stories and publish them, which I thankfully managed to do. My story was part of the 50 that were selected and distributed globally. I am also a peace ambassador and youth leader in the international foundation “Sport, Development and Peace”. I am currently in discussions with the university as to whether I can work as a research assistant alongside my studies, which has been a passion for me since last year. I would also like to do further training in the field of mental coaching. For me, mental strength is what really separates great people from others. It makes you better in everything, in every sport and in every area of life. I am convinced that this is one of my strengths that has helped me even in some very dark times. For example, one of my friends was murdered just a little while ago. This can really affect you, so you have to be mentally strong.
The hope of finding mentors like Kulu Manzi who help and support people like me on our way is a great motivation for me.