Judo Club; Dzaleka Camp

Raw talent of the week; DZALEKA REFUGEE CAMP YOUTHS


What comes to our mind when we hear of Judo? Does it really fit to be a sport? Would we allow our loved one to partake in this sport? Is it really a sport that promotes peace and mental health? Well, be on your couch as EM’s Gibson C Kamanga takes you to Dzaleka Camp and unearths two of the up and coming Judokas; Boniface Gideon Balenga, and surprisingly, a young and energetic female soul, Celine Mukadji.

Dear readers, you might be surprised that this week’s column has gone unorthodox as it has featured two guests at once, but basing on the nature of their sport, Boniface, and Celine deserve this rather unique approach.

Both Boniface, and Celine are members of Dzaleka Youth Congress.

  1. Boniface Gideon Balenga

Born 23 years ago, Boniface understands Judo as a sport that promotes positive minds to all its Judokas.

From his experience, Judo is peace because it makes somebody to desist from negativities and focus on what is important and helpful in one’s life.

Boniface Gideon Balenga

Origin of the passion in this sport

From his childhood, Boniface has always been fascinated by this sport. He had always enjoyed body fitness. So the stretchings, and the self-defense elements in Judo just drove Boniface to this sport.

Just like many Malawians, at first, Boniface had a misconception about this sport. To him, Judo was all about fighting. However, as time passed, he got to understand that Judo was more than just the fighting element; it was a way of life. Judo has shown him how to interact with others and build a successful relationship with them.

Through his weekly mentorships, he has learnt that Judo is a vehicle of controlling one’s emotions and non-indulgence in some immoral acts.

Why Judo?

Boniface’s choice of this sport was not just an impromptu decision; he had a goal.

“I’m in Judo because I want to be someone tomorrow through this sport and also be a role model to others and not to show them disrespect but drive them towards a right way so that they can be exemplary in the community.” He said.

Friends, and parents’ reaction on Boniface’s venture into Judo

Boniface’s parents, at first were unhappy with their son’s sporting path; to them, he was doomed! However, such thoughts never discouraged Boniface. He had a tete-a-tete discussion with them. Luckily, they got convinced and gave their son a go-ahead.

To his friends, however, there still appears to be a problem as some of them do not really understand what Judo is all about. Some of his colleagues mock him that he is pumping too much effort in Judo and is forsaking them. Others have gone to the extent of cutting ties with him, for fear of being on the negative end of his fighting prowess. All these are despite his enlightening them of the art’s positivity. This is how he does it,

“Actually judo is different from other forms of karate even though there are some of the things that seem to be similar. In judo first of all it teaches respect and it is the self-defense as well as the physical exercises that makes the body to be fit. It is also done in the mats to avoid injuries but karate is done without mat.”

His goals

Boniface dreams of visiting Japan and partake in 2020 Olympic Games.

Memorable moments

Boniface always cherishes the moments he spends time with his fellow Judokas from Lilongwe, sharing knowledge and some moves in the game. These make him so happy all the time.

Judo Club; Dzaleka Camp

What needs to be done to promote Judo in Malawi?

From Boniface’s observation, there is a lot that needs to be done if Judo is to be closer to how soccer, and other sports disciplines are handled in Malawi. Below are some of his recommendations.

  • Creation of judo centers in different districts including in Dzaleka;
  • Provision of the uniform for the people practicing the judo;
  • Acquisition of learning resources available for every one;
  • Planning more trips here in Malawi and outside Malawi to gain the experiences about the Judo

by interacting with each other and gain the experiences.

  • Sensitizing people to join the sport in Malawi

Benefits of Judo in his life

Boniface does not regret the path he chose. He claims that through Judo, he has learnt to value discipline, self-respect and also respect for his peers and all those around him. It teaches the behaviors or the ways in which one can handle themselves towards others, and also to be humble, honest, respectful, and a sense of leadership as well.

Judo, from the world of Boniface, is more than a sport as it has always cleared his mind and has offered him a sense of hardworking day in day out so as to perfect his skills. Through Judo, he always wakes up with a refreshed mind, ready to conquer all his obstacles one by one as they come.

All these make Boniface one confident sportsman you’ll ever meet.


  1. Celine Mukadji

Date of Birth: 16th August 1996

Origin of the passion of the art

According to Celine, the desire for self-discovery and her knowledge-seeking led her to try her luck in this sport.

“I developed passion in judo through knowing how I may define myself. In short, I gained new knowledge through judo and it is the knowledge that I never thought of.” She reminisces.

A female in a male field?

To Celine, her biological being does not falter her passion for the sport. She feels no difference with other players in the game, even if most are males.

“I would handle myself freely and comfortable because judo is meant for everyone as in both sides; male and female. So I don’t feel like I’m lost,” she said.

Celine Mukadji

Her parents’ reaction

Unlike Boniface, Celine had an easy ride in convincing her parents of her new found ‘gold’.

“My guardians (parents) were very happy of me after explaining myself about the judo because I discovered that it is part of my vision since the time judo was introduced to me and I had time to convince my family to respect my decision…and they did,” she said.

As a result of Celine’s decision, some of her siblings were also coaxed to follow her path.

“There are also some family members of mine who are participating in this judo so they do support me in everything to continue with this activity.” She revealed.

Why Judo?

According to her, Judo is ideal for both mental and physical well-being. She can use the skills in various situations.

“I can use the judo technics in order to defend myself and find ways of running away from the danger because I’m not a valiant person or a fighter because judo is not valiancy but it’s for self-defense so when the danger comes, I should be able to use the judo technics to defend myself so that I may have a chance to ran away and not to cause harm to the one attacking me.” She said.

Role model

Her greatest model in judo is a Mr Evance Chikumbu.

Difference between Judo and other forms of martial arts

For those who do not know, Judo is totally different from other martial arts technics. Here’s Celine’s observation.

“Judo is really different from karate because judo is more about the self- defense and their technics are allowed to be used as a form as self-defense. However other forms of karate have all about offensive in the sense of you learn how to punch and kick.”

I think what is to be done in Malawi in order to promote judo is through massive civic education so people can learn what Judo is all about.”

Training Session

  • Every Saturday from 8:00-10:00am.

Profile by Gibson C Kamanga



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