Khayelitsha Kyokushin Karate has been home to many aspiring township karatekas for years now and despite the difficulties that come with running it, the dojo continues to show devotion in the discipline.
The dojo is run by Nwabisa Jiya, who started the school after moving to Khayelitsha from Langa in 2018, with the motivation being giving something worthwhile to the young kids who were not taking part in sporting activities.
While the dojo is not limited only to females, Jiya gives much attention to them as she wants to create a new generation to follow in her footsteps – steps that saw her win multiple karate championships in the country and raise the SA flag at international level at competitions, including countries such as Japan.
Her journey started back in 1992 in Mthatha, the only female under her late instructor Shihan Mondli Songca and Shihan Wandile Ncapayi. Having no female competitors meant she spent most of her childhood competing with boys whenever there were any championships.
“In 1993, there was a tournament in Mthatha where there were no girls to compete with me and I was competing with boys, and I obtained second place under-65kg,” she said.
A black belt, she is now producing champions of her own.
By her side is karate brown belt, Senpai Sindile Madla, who is helping to run the dojo. Madla has also made a name for himself in karate circles with a couple of championships around the Cape Metropole.
Jiya said she is not only looking at creating karate champions, she is also looking to play her part in opening enough spaces for competition in karate.
The big one she and her team have in the works is hosting their first annual tournament on Saturday August 27. The tournament will not only be for Capetonians as invites have been sent to other provinces.
“The plans for this tournament is to show other provinces that there is a good thing that can come out of a poor community like Khayelitsha. By hosting this tournament I would also like the students to gain more confidence in interacting with other students,” said Jiya.
On wanting more women participation in karate spaces, Jiya said: “I feel like we are not recognised as women in karate. I am from Khayelitsha, and I have been refereeing abroad from 2015 to 2019.
“We also have the first woman to be a Shihan (Charmaine Abrahams) but there was no recognition of all these (achievements). That is why I would like to make a change. I also need support to fulfil this vision.”
For more information about the dojo or to support the upcoming tournament in any form, contact Nwabisa Jiya on 083 724 3562.