Calvin Andrews, who runs the village, said their responsibility was to make sure that children were provided with a safe home, were looked after, protected and fed.
He described Phumlani as a leader and older brother to the other children. “He is a calm personality, he is strong and gets on very well with my two daughters. His is a gentle soul.”
Phumlani’s rugby journey started in 2014. He said he used to be a soccer fanatic, but that had changed.
“I did not know rugby, I was into soccer. We had a rugby season so they wanted people to try out. I said it’s a new sport so let me try and see how it pans out.”
One of the coaches saw his potential and gave him one-on-one training for two weeks. After that he played a few games for the under 15 and under 16 teams.
“I skipped second team and started playing for the first team because I was too good for the second team,” Phumlani said with a big smile on his face.
In his first year of playing for the first team, he was selected for the under 18 Golden Lions Craven Week side.
He also represented the SA LSEN team (learners with special educational needs) at the SA Rugby Union Academy Week of 2017 at St Stithians College in Johannesburg.
Phumlani said his role models are Lions and Springbok player Warren Whiteley and former Springbok Victor Matfield, and that rugby had taught him the value of team work, discipline and respect.
His dream now is to play for the South African national rugby sevens team, the Blitzboks.