Amateur | Issue | Premium | Aug 13 2019

‘I’ve seen young people being stabbed, shot and killed. I don’t want to be passive observer anymore’

Milambo Makani has learned through boxing and his own experience that he wants to make a change. He discusses the Knock Out Crime project

MILAMBO MAKANI is not a name in amateur boxing. He hasn’t won major titles, in this year’s Haringey Box Cup he reached the semi-finals. But what he has accomplished and what he is doing is remarkable.

As teenager he was made homeless and drawn into gangs, until he decided to radically change his life. “I left home when I was 16 and I left home because my parents had a lot of problems with drugs and alcohol and no one was able to take care of me. As a result of that I ended up in local authority care, living in youth hostels, foster care, in and out of the system, in and out of precarious housing situations, living on the streets, sleeping on the streets and just trying to find a place to work and just trying to find a place where I actually belonged,” he explained. “I found myself actually in a gang because that’s where there was a sense of belonging, that’s where I felt a sense of family. People who were my own blood were not able to take care of me. Random strangers took care of me.”

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