Man of the Match, Thobekani Buthelezi of UKZN following the Varsity Shield match between Rhodes and UKZN. Photo: Nicholas McGregor

DURBAN – From the field, to academics, to the business world, University of Kwazulu Natal (UKZN) winger Thobekani Buthelezi is performing in all spheres of life.

Making the FNB UKZN first team is no easy feat, but keeping his rugby dream going while still managing his academics, and a construction company on the side is exceptional.

Buthelezi is currently in his third year at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, studying a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Criminological and Forensic Studies and Community Development. If that isn’t enough of a mouthful, the flyer also started his construction business Ngezemfihlo Construction and Projects in 2015.

The fiscally-savvy Buthelezi explained that he started his business while in the Sharks Academy and says that although running a business is tough, he is seeing positive results.

“I decided to start up the business to try and get more than one stream of income. And because I wanted to make life easier for my parents by trying to help them financially.

“The business deals with construction, catering and supplies and for someone who is a full-time student and rugby player, I’m finding success.”

Managing such a hectic, yet productive lifestyle is difficult, but the Richards Bay local says it’s all about time management.

“I make time for everything. The business, university, and rugby are all priorities. I try to wake up early every day, that’s if I actually do sleep, so I can do extra training for rugby and go to the gym in the morning. 

During the day I’m on campus till four in the afternoon then after that I’ve got rugby training from 6pm till 8pm. From 8pm till 10pm I try to recover, then back to the grind from 10pm till 3am, if not 5am, focusing on school work or the business. This cycle goes on for about five days.”

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Buthelezi has been on serious form on the field as well, scoring four tries in four games, most recently grabbing a brace against FNB Rhodes in FNB UKZN’s 48-0 rout of the Grahamstown side.

The speedster hopes his form continues and that FNB UKZN can use their momentum to propel themselves to the higher echelons of the competition.

“It was an awesome feeling (scoring two tries). Hopefully I can keep that form until the end of the season with the help of the team. We’ve lost two games, which puts us on the back foot. We will try to control the controllables and leave the rest to God. 

We are not giving up. Hopefully you can ask me this question again in three weeks when we are in the Top 2 of the Varsity Shield log.”

The ever-ambitious Buthelezi hopes he can break into the professional arena. “I’d like to go pro one day. Whether it's through 7s or 15s.”

Buthelezi’s next game is against the high-flying FNB WSU at the Howard College Rugby Stadium on Monday.

Nicholas McGregor

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