Professional boxer Bathabile Ziqubu did not only listen to wise words from lawyer and former two weight world champion Lovemore Ndou, who encouraged boxers to arm themselves with academic qualifications because boxing is a short-term career.
The 31-year-old teacher and junior bantamweight fighter has graduated with a bachelor of commerce and information systems degree. She also did a post-graduate qualification in teaching and honours in education.
Ndou graduated with seven university degrees before opening his own law firm in Rockdale, Sydney in Australia, where the former champion from Musina in Limpopo has lived since 1995.
Ndou said: “Boxing might ultimately strip you of your dignity but education on the other hand can’t be taken away from you. The degrees you work so hard for are yours in perpetuity. With my education and study, you cannot take that knowledge away from me. I have that for life.”
Like Ndou, who published his autobiography Tough Love, which talks about his journey through the hardships of his childhood in SA, Ziqubu has written and published her novel Isifiso Sami (My Wish).
“It talks about a young girl who graduated with a degree at a university and is now working. But she comes across challenges and eventually decides to quit her job,” she said. “I am basically saying to the youth that life is not what it seems. They must know that they will come across difficult times and must be prepared mentally and physically for such."
Ziqubu is from Ekuvukeni in Ladysmith. She is a teacher at Hlonipha Intermidate School in Wasbank. She described her mother – also a school teacher at Embizeni High School in Ekuvukeni, as her inspiration. “I love reading and writing,” she said. “If it wasn't for my responsibilities I would be studying full-time.”
Ziqubu got involved in boxing way back in 2009 and she was trained by Bheki “Skeleton” Mngomezulu.
She went on to be part of the SA National Amateur Boxing Organisation (Sanabo) team that had the likes of Thulani Mbenge, Ayabonga Sonjica, Akani Phuzi, Siphiwe Lusizi, Sikho Nqothole and Hedda Wolmarans.
She finally turned professional in 2019. Ziqubu last fought in June when she lost to Thema Zuma for the SA junior bantamweight title.