Showcasing Role Models

By Satyagraha Reporter

The Chatsworth Youth Centre in conjunction with Satyagraha has started a series of talks and interviews with individuals who can serve as role models to our youth. This is part of an ongoing programme of the Youth Centre to provide a platform for role models who can have a positive influence on young people in a township that is affected by social ills such as drug abuse, delinquency, broken families and crime.

Too often our youth are influenced by people like drug dealers, vulgar rap artists and corrupt individuals who project success through negative attributes. A positive role model carries out a role demonstrating values, ways of thinking and acting, which are considered good in that role. By showcasing such people it is hoped others will follow the example.

Most of us have role models whom we admire. The reasons that they are our role models can be different, but the admiration they inspire, what they represent to us, is what attracts us. They have a quality, attitude or ability that we wish we had ourselves and they inspire us to reach beyond ourselves. Role models can inspire us to aim for goals and achieve ambitions, which we think are beyond ourselves. That goal or ambition might be to gain a higher education, learn to fly a plane or even be a soccer player that will eventually play for the national team. It’s good to have these dreams and ambitions and to have people who inspire us to go for it.

On 23 February the Youth Centre will host Arushen Moodley, South African Superbike Champion and the first black person to win such a championship in the world.

Arushen Moodley is the first black person in South Africa and the world to win such a prestigious motorbike racing title. Twenty-nine year old Arushen was born in May 1978 in Port Elizabeth where he still lives. He took an early interest in motorcycles with a lot of support from his family.

He won the South African Superbike Championship last year after entering the national racing arena in 1995 at the tender age of 17. At a time when there were no black riders and when securing a sponsorship to race was as difficult as riding a bike at 300kmh on a winding track, Arushen persevered to be recognized. After starting off on a Yamaha FZR 1000 motorbike, his talent was quickly recognized and he secured a part sponsorship, with family and friends also providing financial assistance.

In 1996 and 1997 he started riding a FZR 600 because the national formula had changed. In this time he won two local championships, as well as being placed in the top 10 in a number of National Races. Over the years he has been guided by Russel Woods another SA racing icon. In 2003 and 2004, he finished 5th, 4th and 5th respectively in the National Championships. In 2005 he finished 4th overall in the National Championships despite missing two rounds with a broken leg caused by an accident. Being involved in such a dangerous sport did not deter Arushen from gravitating towards the much sort after title of being number one. 

In 2006, he finished second in the championship when he rode a Suzuki GSX-R 1000 as a private team member, outracing even the official Suzuki team.  Suzuki was so impressed with his performance, they made his private team the official Suzuki team. Based in Port Elizabeth, Team Suzuki and Arushen won the SA Superbike Champioship, a title he persevered for and achieved. Arushen has now made history by being the first Black rider to win the Championship and will be an inspiration to those wanting to achieve success in the sporting arena worldwide.

You can meet Arushen Moodley at the Chatsworth Youth Centre on Saturday, 23 February 2008 at 1pm, were he will be awarded for his achievement and he will talk to youth in an informal talk show setting. He also plans to conduct a short riders workshop, concentrating on issues of bike safety, riding techniques and how to be a good rider. For more information call Clive Pillay on 083 981 3506.