It’s been quite a year for Muzilikazi ‘Muzi’ Manyike as head boy of Jeppe High School for Boys, first rugby team captain and a player in a variety of representative teams.
He has hardly touched ground.
“Since I got back from the South African Schools Rugby Series, I have been playing catch-up with my school work and I’m almost there.
“I think the exams are going quite well so far but I have to report for training with the Golden Lions u-19s next week.
“There is the Youth Olympics in Argentina with the SA u-18 sevens rugby team after that so there is still a lot of work and rugby to go,” he said.
The year started off with sevens rugby for the SA team at the Africa Championships.
Then it was into the Jeppe season followed by Craven Week and the SA Sevens team to African Youth Games and a week later SA Schools Series.
Looking back at 2018 thus far, the victory over King Edward School (KES) was without a doubt the highlight of the year for him.
“It was our second consecutive year to win this annual clash. It was great to win but the atmosphere that day and the way the school and the community united behind us was very special. For those of us in matric, it was the perfect send-off and it’s a day I will never forget.
“Another rugby highlight was captaining the SA Schools team. It was a chance to test my leadership at international level and I think I did quite well.
“The SA Schools experience was very intense. We were made to eat, sleep and breathe rugby and treated like full-on rugby professionals,” he said.
“It’s been incredibly busy as head boy but I have loved every minute of it. I was the first boy from Randfontein to come to Jeppe and I decided in Grade Eight to make the most of the journey. I resolved right at the start the one thing I would never be faulted on was my attitude.”
He was also determined no matter what, he wasn’t going to change as he got older.
“The blazer he wears to school every day bears none of the many honours he has been awarded through the years.
“I actually swore I was going to wear the same blazer all five years but the original one became too small,” he said.
In managing this year’s many responsibilities, Manyike singled out his friend Stefan van Zyl as the most important factor in his getting through it.
“He was always behind me. He always encouraged me and was there with transport, accommodation and all sorts of support when I needed it. I couldn’t have down it without him.”
Going forward, he has been contracted by the Golden Lions and has a bursary to go to the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) next year.
He has opted for 15-man rugby above sevens but there is the matter of matric final exams before then, he fully realises.
And with that, he was off to Randfontein for a quick visit to his parents as he hasn’t been home for any of the school holidays this year.