Jabu Mahlangu now leading from the front
Former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates winger Jabu Mahlangu has distinguished himself as one of the most marketable football figures in the country, with corporates lining up to work with him.
Mahlangu's well-publicised turbulent life journey resonates with many people as a story of triumph over tragedy.
The 37-year-old was once one of SA's most beloved footballers, but his off-the-field troubles derailed his career.
Fast-track to the present, and Mahlangu has turned his life around and is making up for lost time. Among the work he does are numerous ambassadorial roles, motivational speaking gigs and being a football analyst for SuperSport TV.
"I am always humbled when big brands and organisations want to associate themselves with me," Mahlangu said.
"It's good that they can see that people make mistakes and then can become better persons. So I am grateful for all the good things that are coming my way."
The father of four is currently the ambassador of SuperSport TV, SuperSport United, Engen Champ of Champs, Engen Knockout and MTN8.
Most recently, he partnered with COPA Coca-Cola for their school's football tournament which took place last weekend in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
"I relate well with children because I can come down to their level and be open with them. My role at the COPA tournament was to motivate the kids and give them guidance not only on how to be good footballers but good citizens as well," he said.
With his post-football career rising higher and higher, what's next for the talent previously known as Jabu Pule? "People say I must write a book. My eyes were opened by a politician I know who told me that my story needs to be in a book so that maybe it can be in schools and kids can learn from my mistakes."
He is also planning to establish the Jabu Pule Trust where his family will run township development programmes.
"I want to uplift kids in the township and try to help where we can. Some kids don't have shoes, computers and all those things that they need. But I don't want to go into much detail, I will only be able to give final confirmation next year."