A smile and a positive attitude are his constant companions. This strong centre-back for our U18 team has been looking to bring positivity, encouragement, and support to anyone and everyone since he joined us in Grade 6. Can you guess who we’re talking about?
This is Uzayr Lee, an integral part of the Ubuntu family.
“I’m one guy, but I will go up to you and give you a hug or do anything to make you feel comfortable” declares Uzayr with his classic grin.
Uzayr hails from the community of Ocean View where he lives with his parents and younger brother. When asked, he affirms that his family enjoys a close relationship, sharing openly with one another and seeking to spend time together. Additionally, Uzayr’s parents have worked to instill in their son a respect for character building, providing a foundation for the values that we at Ubuntu seek to build in our young men. “They want the best for me and they want me to pursue my goals, but the main thing they’re worried about is how I respect others” Uzayr says about his parents.
For Uzayr, Ubuntu has been a place to both practice and learn more about what it is to respect and encourage others in a myriad of ways. He describes his experience as a committed Muslim attending school with others of different faiths, saying, “at Ubuntu I didn’t have to put aside my religion. I’ve learned about the Christian religion and they’ve learned about the Muslim religion which is good because I think it’s had a great influence on me and on them. It’s really positive.”
The centre-back is also passionate about engaging with others in an affirmative way and acknowledges Ubuntu’s part in this: “Here I’ve learned not only about football but also how to interact with people and show them respect.”
He continues to elaborate, “I want my teammates to see that I’m always someone who stands up for them and always tries to protect them. I want them to see me as a person who always tries to encourage others and wants the best for others. I want them to see me as a good player, the best, but not only as the best footballer but also the best person as in helping them and wanting them to succeed. I want them to remember me as a great person, trying to encourage others.”
Uzayr’s positivity and energy have not been overlooked. The past two years in a row he has won the Ambassador Award, an honour given to one outstanding student in each grade at the end of the year who has shown himself to exhibit the five Ubuntu values particularly well. He is proud to have won the award, especially since he was shocked to have won it in back to back years. However, this achievement has not made him big-headed. Instead, he is motivated to win it again in the future!
The seventeen-year-old was also chosen to captain his team at a major tournament in Durban. Uzayr speaks of the experience, saying, “I was chosen to lead the team out of Cape Town, which is big. We went there and we won the tournament. Everyone played a big part to win, but captaining the team made me special!”
In the future, Uzayr’s goals include becoming a professional footballer and starting an organization to help people and to change his community. To accomplish this, he wants to keep playing the sport he loves as well as study either business or sports science at university. As usual, he is facing whatever lies ahead of him with a smile and a positive growth mindsight: “I’m looking to pursue excellence in all areas of my life. I’m always willing to give my best, I’m someone who always wants the best for others, and I always strive for success.”