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Quan Wessels and Afrika Tikkun giving moms and kids a fighting chance! 

Statistics show that 1 101 women were murdered between October and December 2022, with 319 children killed in the same period. In other words, this translates into approximately 12 women and three (3) children murdered every day in South Africa over a 90-day period. These stats were sadly higher during the Covid-19 lockdown period in 2020. 87 000 cases, for instance, were recorded at the start of the lockdown in March 2020. A gross and significant increase compared to pre-Covid-19 records.  

After an invite to an Afrika Tikkun event, Richie Quan and Norman Wessels saw the imperative need and gap in training some of the mothers and children in anti-bullying and anti-Gender-Based Violence (GBV) tactics. Thus, in collaboration with Afrika Tikkun Foundation, the Quan Wessels Martial Arts Academy established the Moms & Kids Martial Arts initiative. The initiative, launched in 2020, aims to raise awareness around Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and take a firm stance against the dreaded scourge. 

Richard ‘Richie’ Quan and Norman ‘Chef’ Wessels have been involved with and competing in combat sports and martial arts from an early age. Together, in 2006, they initially founded FightFit Militia ad later, they then founded the QuanWessels Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Sunninghill. For 17 years, Rich and Chef have been on a journey to create Africa’s premier Mixed Martial Arts Community and have trained young people and adults alike in the fields of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, producing numerous champions. 

The collaborative effort between QuanWessels and Afrika Tikkun seeks to address the prevalent need for women and young children to have agency and to be self-reliant and independent. Most importantly, the initiative seeks to equip our Afrika Tikkun moms and young children with self-defence as well as life-saving skills. 

To date over 24 moms and 40 kids have been trained in the mixed martial art of fighting and they have competed in local competitions. However coaches ‘Rich’ and ‘Chef’ aspire to train the mother and children cohorts to a level of proficiency, where they can compete overseas in international competitions and open their own facilities. 

As with Afrika Tikkun’s own organisational values of quality and sustainability, the QuanWessels Academy also employs a training model that is sustainable and hopes to see the participants become their own coaches in the end. The QuanWessels Academy also hopes to produce future business owners who will also run their own mixed martial arts academies and train others in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai & MMA. The training that many of the young boys and girls (aged between 3-14 years) receive not only boosts their confidence and self-esteem but also sharpens their physical reflexes and their minds. The moms and children that are part of this initiative live in impoverished and under-resourced communities like Alexandra, Braampark and Diepsloot and thus the skill of fighting and self-defence teaches them discipline but also equips them for a brighter future.  

One such individual who has shown extraordinary skill and talent is mom Dikeledi Meso who hails from Alexandra Township. Dikeledi started with the programme as a novice in 2020 but has since grown tremendously in leaps and bounds. She is now a proud Alexandra Community Watch Forum member, and her fighting skills are an asset to the greater community. 

Though we have achieved great strides over the years, more can be done. However, we cannot do it alone. Many of our participants require training gear and equipment, especially when they compete at a national level. Come on board with us and help us help them change their lives trajectory by donating or partnering with us. Let us give the mothers and children of Alex, Braampark, and Diepsloot, and certainly more communities a fighting chance at a brighter future.  

To find out more or donate to QuanWessels Mixed Martial Arts Academy and Afrika Tikkun go to: https://quanwessels.co.za/ or: https://afrikatikkun.org/