Professional boxer Bukiwe ‘Anaconda’ Nonina is using her participation in the sport to encourage young people to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

The current world female bantamweight boxing champion addressed learners at a sports day event in Knysna in the Southern Cape.

Twenty six-year-old Bukiwe Nonina grew up playing soccer in the North West, but her interest later turned to boxing after failing to make the cut for Banyana Banyana.

Nonina, like many poor township youths, could have turned out differently, but now she’s a true example of hope. She wants to be a role model for the youth:

“Since I was growing up the sport was the only thing that kept me indoors, keeps me away from bad things like drugs, alcohol and bad influence from other people. Cause I was always with my cousins, I know what time to be home, even though I’m playing around.”

Nonina is the reigning World Boxing Federation Female Bantamweight Champion.

She also holds the local title for the same division.

Earlier, this year Nonina was crowned South Africa’s female boxer of the year.

These learners say they are encouraged by her success story.

A local councillor, Velile Waxa, says more needs to be done to develop sport in the area:

“I’m of the view that in the next two, three years we need to have some football players going the professional route, also in rugby In fact this is the start in kicking off development in sport in Knysna.

Nonina says many sporting codes are still marginalising black females.

She says there should also be a greater focus on getting young girls interested in sport.