16 November 2022 | Story Jóhann Thormählen | Photo Jóhann Thormählen
Mating Monokoane Louzanne Coetzee Claus Kempen
Louzanne Coetzee, Claus Kempen – who both run for the Kovsie Athletics club – and Mating Monokoane, the University of the Free State (UFS) women’s soccer captain, are joining hands by starting the Louzanne Coetzee Foundation. Here, from the left, are Monokoane, Coetzee, and Kempen at Pellies Park on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

Leaving a legacy. Although she is still in the prime of her career, this has motivated Louzanne Coetzee to start a foundation to benefit others.

The sports star, who won silver (1 500 m; T11) and bronze (marathon; T12) medals at the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2021, wants to empower and support para-athletes. And she is joining hands with two fellow Kovsies to do it.

They will invest their time and talents towards the Louzanne Coetzee Foundation, a result of an idea that started while the 29-year-old Coetzee was competing at the Paralympic Games.

The University of the Free State (UFS) Residence Head of Akasia started the foundation in partnership with Claus Kempen, her guide, and Mating Monokoane, the UFS women’s soccer captain.

“I realised there was a gap in development, especially for para-athletes,” she says.

“You get to a certain level, and in South Africa there is uncertainty with regard to funding and educating athletes.”


Identifying needs

According to Kempen, the foundation will start by generating funds to assist others. Help can be provided by educating, informing or “physically giving financial aid to someone in need, whether it is a wheelchair, entering for a competition, or a bursary”.

Coetzee serves in many leadership roles, such as the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) Athletes Commission and says she will make use of these.

“I am involved in the South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled, and that gives me a good platform to see where help is needed.

“And with Mating involved in the UFS, it gives us good insights into where the needs are.”

Coetzee will also work with organisations such as the Free State Sport Association for the Physically Disabled and Visually Impaired. “I am also going to start getting more involved with KovsieSport. It is very exciting.”


Guiding and following

Coetzee and Kempen have been talking about a foundation for some time and she wanted to include Monokoane, the 2022 Prime of Akasia.

They have been working together for the past three years. Coetzee admires her passion, ethics, and “knows she also has a heart for leaving a legacy”.

And it is fitting that their residence motto is: ‘Live, love, learn and leave a legacy’.

Kempen says it is a privilege to be involved.

“Normally my role is to guide Louzanne, but in this instance I am following, and she is taking me on a journey to explore what we can do to empower other individuals and groups.”

He congratulated the UFS on a successful leadership pathway.

“It is something we like to talk about, namely developing students into leaders.”

“Louzanne took the opportunity with Mating, and they went from a student and employee relationship to partners.”

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