Published: March 4, 2008
In a thrill for local boxing fans, former world champion Mike Tyson
arrived in South Africa Tuesday 29 January.
Tyson was in the country to help raise funds for a children’s charity at a gala banquet and as part of a series of promotional events.
On Wednesday 30 January Mike Tyson arrived at the Charity Banquet held at the Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, South Africa.
On Thursday about 1500 Soweto pupils gathered at their high school in
Moletsane to catch a brief glimpse of former world boxing champion Mike
The former heavyweight boxer arrived at the school around 12.30pm and
spent about 20 minutes holding his fists in the air, walking through
the throngs of students and addressing them briefly.
Tyson told the children, who let out screams of excitement, that he
knew what conditions they were living in as he had grown up in similar
surroundings in the United States.
When asked by one of the girl pupils if he would come back to the
school another time, he responded simply: “Yes”.
Earlier Tyson had held Mahopo’s hand as he walked towards the large
group of fans who had gathered in the school’s assembly grounds.
“He took my hand. It was so wow. I won’t forget this day. I’m never
going to wash my hand.”
A teacher at the school, Theodore Chabedi, said most of the children
knew who Mike Tyson was.
At the hotel, his co-manager Harlan Werner said the trip was a bid to
highlight to local and international media the plight of school
children in poorer communities like Moletsane.
“It was basically an opportunity to go to a school and bring attention
to what the current conditions are. His presence there brought 50 to 65
journalists,” he said.
“He [Tyson] wants to encourage kids to stay in school and to overcome
their adversity like Mike has.
“Last Sunday Mike was one year sober and drug free,” said Werner,
adding that the former boxer was looking at raising awareness and
funding diverse projects in the country.
These may include an orphanage, a drug rehabilitation centre or a
school, said Werner.
On Saturday he attended the boxing tournament ‘Fire and Brimstone’
(showcasing boxers such as Corrie Sanders and Osborne “Big Daddy”
Machimana) where he would be a celebrity commentator.
More pictures available in the extended section of this post (click ‘Read More’ below).
Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson attends and speaks at the Charity Banquet held at the Emperors Palace on January 30, 2008 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson greets and talks to South Africa students at Moletsane Secondary School in Soweto, Johannesburg, 31 January 2008.
Tyson, with Machimane (left), and Sanders (right) during the weigh-in