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Success Stories

Who We Are


Olwethu Gusha

UCT Law Graduate

When I started Karate I was very unfit and had very little self-esteem. Amongst many things, Karate has taught me respect and self-discipline. It has taught me that hard work and dedication does pay off and that if you work hard enough, you will be rewarded.

In the beginning I trained with many of my friends but when most of them left, I stayed. I have been rewarded for my dedication by travelling the world, seeing places and experiencing things I normally would not have, all thanks to Karate.

Sipho Pokolo


Sipho has travelled extensively through the AWOL program:


He visited Tokyo, Japan on a cultural exchange where he successfully graded to his 2nd dan.

Sipho also visited Venice on a cultural exchange which was endorsed by both the city of Cape Town and the city of Chioggia.

In 2013 Sipho competed in the 6th World tournament in Mumbai, India where he became the World Champion.

In 2017 Sipho travelled to Vancouver, Canada where he became the first South African to obtain a record 5 medals in all 5 divisions, making him the best all-rounder on the African continent.


Sipho plans to devote his life to work within African Warriors of Light by working as an instructor at the new headquarters which will facilitate training and learning of students from across the globe.

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Ryan Esau


I have been a student of Frank Shihan for over 20 years.

Frank Shihan has filled the shoes of my absent father and has supported me through the toughest times as a boy and young man.


I have been given the gift of traveling to Italy, Holland and Japan where I graded to my Black Belt.


I have had it tough growing up and if it was not for Goju Kai’s help when I was in need of direction I would not be the success I am today.

Karate Pose

Anathi Kalipa


Anathi was fostered by Frank Brandon from the age of 3 up until the age of 7. During this time, Frank Brandon managed to place Anathi in SACS pre-school. He was accepted into the junior school and was sponsored as a border. Anathi played in the school orchestra, sang in the choir and played A-team rugby all the way to matric, where he achieved his WP colours for u19 rugby. He matriculated in 2018 and was accepted on a full scholarship to study law at the University of Cape Town. He currently plays for the UCT U20 rugby team.


Anathi has travelled extensively:

In 2012 he travelled to Tokyo, Japan where he attended his grading and achieved his black belt at the age of 12 years.

Anathi visited Venice on a cultural exchange which was endorsed by both the city of Cape Town and the city of Chioggia.

In 2013 Anathi competed in the 6th World tournament in Mumbai India, achieving 2nd place on the podium.

In 2017 Anathi travelled to Vancouver, Canada where he became the Junior Heavyweight Champion of the World.


Anathi is determined to become a lawyer and to work within AWOL as a mentor and role model.

Karate Pose
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Xolisile Hiti


Xolisile has been training under the Brandon family at the hombu dojo for the past 20 years. He graded to his 4th dan in 2018.


Xolisile was instrumental in the growth of karate in the township and continues to be a role model for all karateka.


He has travelled to Italy representing AWOL on a cultural exchange and competed in Rotterdam, Holland at the World Karate Championships.


Xolisile currently works at AWOL’S major sponsor, Sisco international under the guidance of our dear friend and CEO of the company , Mr Philip Barton as a factory manager.

He is a former multiple national champion and was placed 3rd in the world as a junior.

Karate Pose

Ncumisa Plum


Ncumisa’s father the late Patrick Plum was one of Peter Brandon’s students that started 50 years ago.


AWOL strives towards supporting its members and their families through good times and bad never forgetting the work put into the organization by individuals.


Ncumisa was born into Goju Kai and AWOL and has been fully sponsored since. She is a National champion and participated in two world tournaments. The first year of World Championships she was chosen to participate in was in Mumbai, India in 2013 where she placed 3rd. The 2nd one was in Vancouver, Canada where she placed 3rd again.


We plan to fully employ Ncumisa once the new AWOL headquarters has finished its renovations and extensions in order to facilitate students with board, lodging and training:

We hope to use her expertise in the hospitality industry.

Karate Pose

Khanya Gwabeni


Khanya travelled abroad for the first time in 2013 to Mumbai, India where he took part in the 6th Goju Kai Karate World tournament and competed against the best in the world. He did incredibly well and became the World Champion. This tournament takes place every 4 years.


In 2017 Khanya was again chosen to represent South Africa in the 7th World Championship held in Vancouver, Canada.


He smashed the record books by winning 3 gold medals in three different events making him the first South African to accomplish this.


Khanya currently trains at the head office of the All Africa Karate do Goju Kai Association in Mowbray, Cape Town. All his travels abroad and training is fully sponsored by AWOL.


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2 Mount Street, Mowbray, Cape Town |  |  Tel. 081 253 0003

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