A Tanzanian woman travels across Africa to show off her footballing skills in order to feed her family.
Her name is Hadhara Charles Mjeje. Short videos of her in action received a lot of attention on Social Media. Last month, one of his videos even caught the attention of US President Donald Trump. He wrote on the Twitter site, “Amazing!”
Mjeje started working on her ball movements, or juggling, when she was growing up in Tanzania. For many years she played for a local women’s soccer team.
Mjeje hits the ball with his feet, head and upper body, but not with his hands.
Mjeje is a 29-year-old single mother with two boys. For the past six years, she has used her special juggling skills to help support them.
She’s asking $4 for a two-minute performance. She earns between $45 and $50 a day. She says the money is used to send her children to school and buy food for them.
So far, Mjeje has traveled to Cameroon, Burundi, Gabon and Malawi to give her performances.
During a recent show in Malawi, she told VOA: “There is no magic in this ball. It’s mine Talent I started developing a long time ago.
In Malawi, her talent caught the attention of national women’s football officials. They were interested in incorporating it into their women’s soccer development program. Mjeje refused the offer.
Sugzo Ngwira is the head of the Central Malawi Women’s Football Committee. She said if Mjeje was willing to use her skills with other players, her organization would explore ways to work with Mjeje.
Mjeje’s skills have also attracted interest from male footballers. Samuel Zeka plays social football in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe. He says it’s a rare talent for women to juggle the ball as well as she does.
“I would be very grateful if she would teach me such skills,” Zeka added.
Mjeje said she wished the US president could do more to help her than write a message of support on Twitter. She said she wished Trump had offered to help feed her family. In addition to her children, she also has to take care of her aging parents.
But Trump’s reaction on Twitter has drawn additional attention. Soon after, she received requests for interviews local and international news agencies, including the BBC and Reuters.
She returned to Tanzania in early March, after a agent traveled to Malawi to meet her. The agent wanted to share the possibility of signing an advertising contract which could bring him a lot of money in Spain.
Mjeje said she hopes the new contract will mark the start of a better life.
I am Pete Musto.
Lameck Masina reported this story for VOA. Pete Musto adapted it for Learn English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
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words in this story
Social Media – nm forms of electronic communication, such as a website, through which people create online communities to share information, ideas, and personal messages
Talent – nm a special ability that allows someone to do something well
grateful – adj. to feel or thank someone for a helpful deed
interview(s) – nm a meeting between a journalist and another person to obtain information for a story
agent – nm a person who does business for another person