Rugby legend and Former Springbok wing, Ashwin Willemse, has finally spoken out. He spoke to MathsGee on his Cum Laude (Distinction) success with his Masters at Wits Business School and his wish for South African youth from impoverished backgrounds to not shy away from where the pain is.
In his seminal biography entitled, Rugby Changed my World: The Ashwin Willemse Story, Ashwin takes a raw, intensely self-revealing look at his life. This book chronicles Ashwin Willemse’s life and sports journey. Born into impoverished conditions by a teenage mother, an absent father and believing that acceptance and belonging was only found in the brotherhood of a gang, he shares some of the spine-chilling hardships that he had to endure. Despite all of this, he rose to the highest level that professional rugby has to offer, representing South Africa in two Rugby World Cup tournaments and awarded all major rugby awards – including Player of the Year – in his Springbok debut season in 2003. Ashwin’s story takes us into a gripping world of a tug-of-war between light and darkness. It helps us understand how a young insecure boy rejected not just by a cruel world but also by his own father, could turn into one of South Africa’s most loved rugby heroes.
This book, which chronicles strife and success inter-woven into the life of a young sportsman, was written before Ashwin had completed his (MMENV) – Masters in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation at Wits Business School (WBS).
It is a well-known fact that the MMENV masters is a gruelling one, especially when one has a family and is working. The program provides a solid grounding in entrepreneurial knowledge and skills, with emphasis on both theoretical and practical applications as they relate to new venture creation. With government piling its weight behind entrepreneurship as a conduit to employment creation, it is vital to have individuals that are grounded in the both theory and practice of entrepreneurship.
Ashwin is encouraging young South Africans to not give up in their fight for socio-economic, political freedom. He states that, “Even if the journey is hard, we must perserve and pursue our dreams to be the best we can be, excellence and continual self-improvement is not an option but a must”.
Ashwin was one of two students in their class of 50 to graduate with a distiction, the other student was Mmathebe Zvobwo.
It is is our hope at MathsGee that the success of this rugby icon and academic will inspire many more youngsters to rise up and counted among the best in the world.