OurHealth

North West man to represent SA at World Transplant Games

Lebohang Moabeng said
Written by Itumeleng Tau

A few years ago, Lebohang Moabeng, 29, from Jouberton, Klerksdorp, was at death’s door. Having dialysis three times a week, his body was under stress and he was constantly in pain and tired. Life was bleak and his prognosis was poor.

Lebohang Moabeng, 29, will represent South Africa at the World Transplant Games in Argentina

Lebohang Moabeng, 29, will represent South Africa at the World Transplant Games in Argentina

However, a life-saving kidney transplant turned his life around in 2009 and now Moabeng, will soon head off to the next World Transplant Games in Argentina as a likely contender in the power walk part of the competition.

Moabeng, who a few years ago could hardly move, is today South Africa’s Transplant Games winner of the 5km power walk which qualified him for the International Games taking place between August 23 to 30, in Argentina, this year.

The only thing that was standing between Moabeng and his dream to get to Argentina and participate in the games was about R31 000 – the money needed to get him there and to compete.

But after his story was printed in The New Age, people came forward to help and he is set to be at the games with Klerksdorp/Tshepong Hospital Complex transplant coordinator Fifi Xukwane.

Hospital spokesperson, Nico Masiu said the fact that Moabeng will now go to the games to pursue “his invaluable endeavor to represent the voice of South Africans who are in dire need of organ transplants is wonderful”.

[quote float= right]You get discouraged sometimes. I used to pray and I told myself that the dialysis gives me life and that without it I would die”

Moabeng had a kidney problem when he was 17-year-old and underwent his kidney transplant in 2009. “He is now living an active life, and has been the organ donation ambassador since then,” Masiu told OurHealth. “His story is an inspiration to many of us in our communities showing us that donating an organ can save lives. He is living hope for those who have organ failure.”

Lebogang was born in Bophelong in Mafikeng and moved to Jouberton with his parents when he was a little boy. He had to drop out of Tshedimosetso Secondary School and go through four years of dialysis until 2009. He said he would sit for four hours of dialysis, three times a week.

“When you are on the dialysis machine you get cramps and at the end of a session you feel dizzy. It is difficult to keep going to the sessions. You get discouraged sometimes. I used to pray and I told myself that the dialysis gives me life and that without it I would die,” said Moabeng.

He could afford the lifesaving treatment because Klerksdorp/Tshepong Hospital Complex gave dialysis patients grants for transport and food, said Moabeng.

Two years after his transplant he was introduced to the Transplant Games by Daniel Matsoso, a kidney patient from Johannesburg. Matsoso will also be participating in this year’s world games.

Moabeng has now swopped his three times a week on dialysis to three times a week training at the Matlosana Stadium in Jouberton. He does it without the help of a coach.

He also goes on regular campaigns with Xukwane to encourage people to donate organs. Although unemployed at the moment, Moabeng dreams of opening his own internet café in the future.

Athletes participating in the Transplant Games do not earn prize money but do so to encourage others to have active lives and also to encourage organ donation. The events are also meant to create relationships between the participants.

About the author

Itumeleng Tau

Itumeleng Tau is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Gauteng's Johannesburg Health District.

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