Karate kid sells atchar that packs a punch to raise funds to represent his province

A pint-sized karate kid from Lansdowne in Cape Town has unleashed his inner entrepreneur, raising money to take part in a national karate tournament by selling atchar, dried fruit and sauces at a stall in Rylands.

Raees Jassiem started karate at Goju Kai in Mowbray at the tender age of 4. After many tears and tantrums, he fell in love with the sport.

"I love it because it teaches me discipline and I get to meet new people," he told News24 on Monday.

Raees, now 7, has been chosen to represent Western Province at a tournament in Stellenbosch, which is scheduled to take place at the end of October. He is an orange belt.

However, his hairstylist mother Fazlin simply could not afford the R4 000 entry fee – let alone the additional R4 000 required for his equipment.

Working hard to earn money

"I told him don't worry, you'll work for it. I made sure to teach him to work for the things that he wants," she said.

"So, we started selling mugs, atchar and dried fruit that my sister made in Johannesburg to friends and family. Then I realised that I ended up doing all the work, so I helped him set up a stall outside Elite Cash & Carry [in Rylands, Cape Town]."

While Raees has served a few impressive customers since then, including Premier Helen Zille's husband Professor Johan Maree, local community members remain his biggest supporters.

Fazlin explained: "Last week we put placards up on the stall and people were so excited to help him, without even knowing the full story. All they saw was a 7-year-old working hard to earn money. The community has just been amazing."

Even his principal at The Grove Primary School in Claremont donated R500 to his cause. Soon, strangers started sending money and gifts to the young grasshopper.

After only two months of fundraising, Raees has already raised around R3 000.

Raees's instructor from Goju Kai, Frank Brandon, is incredibly proud of his student.

"I just have a connection with him. You know, he'll crack a joke and I'll get it. Even if he didn't have a stall, we would do anything to help him get to the tournament," he said.

Big dreams

Brandon explained that Goju Kai had placed Raees in the African Warriors of Light programme that subsidises half of his fees. A fund has also been set up for a world tournament in Japan.

"He will definitely be coming with us to participate in the tournament in Japan. That will be three years from now," Brandon said.

Fazlin has big dreams for her little boy.

"Raees wants to reach a black belt and travel the world," she said.

"Karate might just be the only way he will be able to see the world because we're just trying to make ends meet."

karate kid

Raees Jassiem. (Supplied: Fazlin Jassiem)

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