A happy sting in the tail

Christinah Motlhabane
SMILE OF DELIGHT: An excited Masala recieiving his gift as family members watch on


What started as a humiliating, painful and potentially life-threatening experience has ended with a happy surprise for a young football fan in Francistown.

14-year-old Tshenolo Masala hit the headlines in March after suffering numerous stings when a swarm of bees descended on the Old Francistown Stadium during the Calendar Stars vs Jwaneng Fighters Orange FA Cup match.

A happy sting in the tail
FLASHBACK: Masala after the bee attack

The game was televised live on Btv and the nation watched hypnotized as the cameras zoomed in on a clearly terrified Masala desperately trying to escape the furious bees.

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Describing the moment the swarm struck, Calendar Stars goalkeeper Nsala Mosinyi told The Voice at the time, “The bees unleashed themselves on fans in the stands, compelling some to run for safety. After the boy got an injection I nearly panicked because he was not moving. I feared the worst!”

Fortunately, although his face was to remain badly swollen for a few days to follow, Masala survived the attack.

However, when The Voice published the story on our Facebook page, some of the comments were less than sympathetic, poking fun at the unfortunate Selepa Secondary School student.

A month later and kindness has now come from an unlikely source on the other side of the planet.

Browsing through The Voice’s latest online articles from his base in UK Defence Academy in Watchfield, England, Moeng Tafa came across Masala’s touching story.

A happy sting in the tail

The 41-year-old Botswana Defence Force (BDF) officer was so moved by what he read that he resolved to extend a helping hand and reignite the teen’s love for sports.

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Taking to Facebook, Tafa, a proud Francistowner, tracked down the journalist responsible for the 24 March feature ‘Boy, 14, survives bee attack at Orange FA cup match’.

He then sent the sum of P700, money meant for Masala to buy sports gear with.

“The idea was sparked by the apparent inhuman remarks following the sad incident. I felt sorry for the boy and feared the episode might turn him away from his love of football. So, to rejuvenate his passion and help him forget his ordeal with the bees, I decided to donate a small amount so the young lad can purchase his favourite training gear,” explained Tafa, who is a firm follower of struggling Francistown outfit City Greens.

“Hence my love for Ghetto football!” quipped the kind-hearted soldier.

The Good Samaritan added that he hopes his gesture can help transform a traumatic experience into a positive one.

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“More so that young people can be easily swayed into joining the wrong crowds which could lead them into trouble. The bottom line is to have the young man continuing to follow his passion despite the negative comments he received,” stressed Tafa, adding he is ‘excited’ to monitor the youngster’s progress in the future.

When The Voice surprised Masala at his home in Colored location on Tuesday afternoon, the football loving teen was left humbled by Tafa’s kindness.

Grinning uncontrollably, Masala’s happiness is a stark contrast to the weak, traumatised youth The Voice encountered on our last visit.

“I am much delighted, more so that I needed the sports gear but could not afford it. I am a defender here in Colored location for the Ghetto Stars team so I really need the gear. After lockdown I will definitely start by buying the shoes,” he said, laughing in wonder at his unexpected fortune.

“Thank you so much. I promise to make you proud,” was Masala’s parting message to his benefactor, his young face lit up with a shy but determined smile.

Masala confirmed his love for football has not diminished and, when sport returns, he intends to be in the stands to shout his support for Calendar Stars once again.

Truly a tale worthy of the beautiful game!

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