It’s now a year and few days later since the former Mamelodi Sundowns and Chippa United star, Rodney Ramagalela’s house was burnt to ashes.
At the time some friends and the football fraternity showed him what seemed like overwhelming support in his time of need. However today Ramagalela says only few of those who promised him a lot, came through and fulfilled their promises.
In this exclusive interview with ThisIsFootball.Africa, the 33-year-old striker explains his situation after that terrible fire, as well as where he is in relation to football right now.
Clifton Mabasa (CM): Rama G, thank you for speaking to us, we know you have been through a lot lately, but what’s up now?
Rodney Ramagalela (RR): Sure, yeah eish, I’m fine. I am fine now. I have recovered. I am even back playing again.I have been training with University of Pretoria since Monday.
CM: We hope they will be impressed…
RR: You know, when a player is returning from a long injury and all those things that were happening to me, I understand anyone would rather not take a chance on me. But I’m happy, and I will train with the team and see if they love what I am doing. I need to be myself and do the best that I can to convince Tuks that I can do it. I’m hoping to hear from them soon. Likewise, I’m happy they have reached out to me because it means they believe I’m the person who will help them, and I really appreciate that, but yes, It’s coming alright.
CM: We are so happy that you are fine. What have been doing since your Chippa United departure and the burning down of your house?
RR: I was at home, things were not looking good for me, I was emotionally not okay. I had to take a step back and to try to fix myself. I believed that home is where I was able to do it well. Because when you are around people who love you for real, that’s where you can recover emotionally. Now, where I am and how I feel, my family, my brother, father and sisters, I think they really helped me to recover myself.
CM: After everything that happened, losing your house and everything, have you replaced some of those things yet?
RR: When it comes to that situation, there is nothing that you can get back, especially the things that I have worked for, for 12 years. The accolades that I managed to collect in that period, and hence I’m saying to you, for me, it was about mentally. If mentally I have recovered, then the other things, it’s easy to replace them. You will be able to work again when your mind is properly functioning. That was more important, and I believe that when my mind is fully functioning, I will have recovered everything.
CM: Have you got any help from people after the mess. We all saw people saying that they will help?
RR: I will be very honest with you and the truth sometimes hurts.There were plenty of promises from so many people and some organisations who said we will help you.
Even those who promised to get me the professionals to come and help me emotionally, that was also just cheap talk. People just promise things that they know they can’t do. Even where I stay, in my village there is no one who came and said, Rama we are crying with you. It’s not only about giving me money, it’s not about money. What I received during that period was just bad treatment from people. I had to die physically to be able to see what is what in my life. I died for a few months. You can imagine how tough is that when you know that there is no one who willing to help or support you to recover emotionally.
CM: We can only imagine…
RR: It was difficult, and I think if it had happened to someone else, we would be talking another story now. I’m happy it happened to me and I managed to live with it. At times, it’s not nice to reach out to someone who’s feeling the pain that you don’t even understand, and you make it a joke to that person. That’s why we have many people in South Africa who are failing to deal with what they are going through in their lives, and they end up committing suicide. And us, we just come back and say we were supposed to be there for them but we’re not there for them. If you can’t help someone financially, it’s not a problem, but just come and say Rama we are crying with you, all will be well, that means a lot. Don’t come and say I will give you R10 when you don’t have that amount, it’s not like we want money, but just a simple support.
CM: Not even one bro, no one helped?
RR: I can tell you with no fear that Mr. Robert Marawa and Hollywood Bets, they fulfilled their promises. But the rest, believe me it was just cheap talk that we always hear in South Africa. Mr Marawa and the Hollywood team managed to help me to get the materials that I needed to do something that will help me to move forward with my life.
CM: Thanks to them you can at least move forward now.
RR: I have somewhere, where I’m building, but not at the same place where my house was burnt. I’m pushing my things while I stay with my father. What I’m happy about now is I have recovered emotionally, and I’m back in the game.
CM: Are there any suspects, did anyone get arrested?
RR: We do not really know what happened because even the police when they did the report they just said it could have been an electrical fault because they didn’t see any sign of a break in or those kinds of things. They also do not even know what happened. No one is suspected because even the police couldn’t get a proper answer.
CM: What’s the next step?
RR: I think I am a man enough to understand my situation and to take responsibility of it and now move on. In a situation like this, you end up being confused trying to find the truth in something that you don’t know. Even the police experts do not know what happened, so I must as well let it go and focus on myself.
CM: Rama G good luck and thanks. We hope to see you in action soon, all the best. Let’s chat soon.
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