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Help us trace this unsung hero

SOUTH Africa welcomes more than 50 countries, who'll be represented by more than 1800 athletes, during the 13th World Transplant Games in Durban.

This is the largest sporting event for recipients of donor organs. The World Transplant Games Federation stages the games in a bid to increase awareness of the success of transplant surgery and to increase the rate of organ donation.

According to reports from Organ Donor Foundation, at any given time there were 4000 people in South Africa awaiting organ and cornea transplants, but on average only 600 transplant operations were done in a year.

From Monday to Saturday, the world will once again be glued to the Igagasi lase Thekwini. We wish all the teams all the best during these important games.

We would also like to acknowledge the roles of individuals in the development of sport in the country.

I had an opportunity to read on the social network the following by Pinky Khoabane, two months ago.

"When Sibusiso Mogale asked his grandmother what the fascination was with him that he attracted the stares and the attention that he did, she told him it was because of his beautiful smile.

"If you walk into a room you light up the lives of the people in it with your smile. That's why everyone wants to come close to you," Gogo Nyamatane assured him.

"Really, just my smile?" Sibusiso asked in disbelief.

"Yes, God has given you a gift and it is your smile" she responded.

"Born with no limbs, Sibusiso thought his grandmother would attribute the stares to his "disability".

"Having met this exuberant young man, I realised the sadness of prejudice. Instead of his intoxicating smile, we naturally notice his "disability" first.

"Sibusiso's disability has come with mixed fortunes. While his biological father turned his back on him ... he was blessed with a grandmother who accepted him for who he was.

"Unlike his schoolmates, who were locked up inside their homes, he was allowed to go outside and play with other children.

"Sibusiso has gone on to do more than what so-called able-bodied people can do.

"He can drive; he can use a computer and has amassed loads of accolades in cycling and athletics. But it is in swimming that he has excelled.

"Self-taught, he has won awards second to none and has criss-crossed the world representing South Africa.

"He has swam the Midmar Mile and won the Courage Trophy. He went to Sheffield, England, and won gold in the Open Water Swim.

"A week later, he was in Brazil for the Wheelchair and Amputee championships where he won two silver medals.

"Since matriculating, this talented swimmer has struggled to sustain his rigorous and expensive training routine.

"With his meagre salary from a job at a call centre, he doesn't have money to enlist coaches. With the lack of training and activity in the sport, his support has died.

"Sibusiso's dream is to go back to swimming and represent his country in the next Paralympics."

Thanks Ms Khoabane for this piece on your timeline. We will have to make contact with this athlete and see how we can assist.

We need your help to track down Sibusiso. The country can't lose talent just like that. We have to do something.

I would like Sibusiso to contact our office at (012) 304-5000, and ask for the ministry.

There are many individuals who have contacted my office through the social networks telling me about their community development work.

We applaud your efforts.

l The clock is ticking and if you haven't bought your ticket and be part of the spectacle at FNB Stadium on August 17 when Bafana Bafana will be up against Burkina Faso, the Springboks against Argentina and the Italian football masters up against the SA masters. Tickets are availabe at Computicket

l Today at 10am, we will be launching the United Campaign at FNB Stadium.

Mbalula is minister of sport and recreation and executive member of the World Anti-Doping Agency

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