KapapuÔÇÖs tormenting boxing life
Most people only hear about me and do not really know who I am.”
Those are the words of the 28-year-old Oshakati-born boxer, as he explains his journey towards becoming a boxer.
Samuel Andreas, well known as Samuel Kapapu, is a Namibian lightweight boxer whose national ranking is number three, behind Paulus Moses and Martin Haikali in his division.
Kapapu currently holds a national lightweight title, but has not fought in more than five months. He dreamt of becoming a boxer at the age of 14 but the journey was not easy. “It was not an easy life journey, but I will tell you I feel blessed today”, says Kapapu.
He was born on the 11 July 1984 in Oshakati, but grew up at Omapopo village, just a few kilometres west of Oshakati.
His parents passed away while he was a child. Not even once did he see his mother who passed away while he was eight months old.
And in 1997 when he met his father only for the second time, he promised to take him to a school in Grootfoontein but this dream did not transpire for Kapapu as his father passed away one month later.
The path towards his future became intricate. He then was living with an uncle, who hardly knows the importance of formal education and due to lack of support; Kapapu fell behind a few grades.
He recalls, one time in 2000 while at Afoti Combined School, he lost the school’s mathematic text book of the eighth grade which his uncle refused to pay for.
He (uncle) insisted not to, because of other commitments owed to his wife and children.
Kapapu left school and instead decided to attend to daily chores of the house.
He decided to come to Windhoek and it seemed as no concern to his uncle, because he felt at least the boy is trying to be independent.
Another uncle accommodated him in his house in Windhoek while searching for employment.
Looking for a job at the age of 17, he was often told; ‘go back to school, you are still a minor’.
Although legally he was young, it was painful to Kapapu as he felt that they knew nothing about the anguishes he is living in.
After two months in Windhoek, he then joined Mountain Bricks, the same company his uncle worked for.
His task was to form bricks. He worked from six in the morning and even when its winter with no proper safety equipments.
His salary was N$800 per month at the beginning, but then his superiors decided they will start paying all their labourers five cents (5c) per brick formed.
“Just imagine sometimes its cold and the fingers could be freezing, it was a tough job”, he remembers.
It became hard and unfair because the work he does will sometimes only amount between N$150 and N$300.
He could not survive through the new agreement anymore and left the job after a year and six months.
He could not find a job for the entire 2003 and his uncle chased him out of the house.
Kapapu then began to collect and sell beverage bottle, while staying in a ‘ghetto’ with about six of his friends.
Some of his friends did the same work (selling bottles), some ended up working at farms, others decide to make a living through stealing, but Kapapu refused to steal for a living.
He ended up alone in the ghetto, physically and mentally tormented by the hardships.
Without food, he could not even walk to look for jobs anymore and his only hope was that a miracle happens.
One time, a cousin showed up from nowhere, who then felt pity and bought food and a stove for him to cook.
With his energy restored, he could now continue with his struggle to acquire a new job.
One fortunate day, Kapapu met a man named Steve Hartung who then offered him work at his house in Windhoek.
He worked for him for a while, then, Hartung decided, he will get Kapapu a new job elsewhere.
He finally got a job (although could not reveal in detail) he says he feels happy to be working there until today.
“I thank God for placing Mr. Hartung in my way, I will never forget him”, says Kapapu with humility.
It was the time he worked for Hartung that this dream came true. He liked boxing so much but his relatives were against it, saying their family has never produced a boxer, so they will not bother to support him.
Then Hartung surprised Kapapu one day with a gift. He bought him a boxer’s mouth gum, as an appreciation for his loyal work.
The young Kapapu became fond of the game. He joined Golden Boxing Club in 2005 and he is the only survivor of that club.
He fought 31 fights at amateur level between 2006 and 2007.
After failing to achieve his dream of taking part at the Olympic Games, he decided to turn professional.
In 2008, he moved to Soweto Boxing Club owned by trainer Tobias Nashilongo with the aim of turning to a professional career.
Kapapu’s record currently stands at 12 wins, a draw and five losses in 18 fights.
He fought Namibian boxers and a few fighters from Zimbabwe during his professional stint.
He said: “When fighting a local boxer, it’s never easy as you are facing a person that knows your strengths and your weak points. “
Hammer is the current national lightweight champion; he won the title against Peter Malakia on September 8 last year, winning the bout on a Technical Knockout (TKO) in the second round.
Malakia requested for a rematch and Kapapu successfully defended his title on a unanimous points’ decision two months later.
It’s been five months now that the boxer has not stepped in the ring, something that he describes as a little discouraging.
But his aim once given the opportunity to fight again is to display more of the brighter side of his boxing talent.
He is hungry to fight again as his ultimate goal is to fight many international boxers so he can be among the highest ranked in the world.
His message to anyone who has a dream of taking up sport or any other career is: “A great journey starts at a dead end but keep pushing because there is no job without a reward. God is great” concludes Kapapu.