Mamelodi Sundowns star, Hlogi, blends dance and football to tell an inspirational African story

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On March 24, Mamelodi Sundowns FC released the third episode of its globally impactful YouTube docuseries, Sundowns Stories, titled ‘Hlogi’.

These powerful stories give supporters never-before-seen insight into the personal lives, struggles and triumphs of the Mamelodi Sundowns heroes.

“When people speak of Mamelodi Sundowns, the discussion usually gravitates towards the team’s success and the records that we want to break,” said Sundowns Chairman and Executive Producer of Sundowns Stories, Tlhopie Motsepe.

“Although we never shy away from our desire to be the best team in Africa, there is much more to our club than just winning; and behind our successes are the powerful stories of the supporters, players and people who have made Mamelodi Sundowns what it is today,” Motsepe added.

The latest instalment, ‘Hlogi’, is a moving tribute to one of the club’s most charismatic personalities and talented players.

Growing up in the township of Mamelodi, East of Pretoria, Lehlogonolo ‘Hlogi’ Mashigo quickly learnt that you have to work for what you want in life – and she has yet to shy away from the challenge. Drawing on the rhythm and vibe of this distinctly South African setting, Hlogi harnessed a talent for football, earning her place on the Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies team. But this was just the beginning of her journey.

“With football, I saw when she was four years old…she was playing with her friends. She was playing with the boys.”

Hlogi’s mom, Gladys Mashigo, recalled how her daughter’s interest in football was recognised at a young age, and while she questioned her lack of enthusiasm for what was deemed ‘traditional girl’s interests’ – netball and beauty pageants – she knew it was important to let Hlogi pursue her passion.

A steely determination, passion for football, strict work ethic and incredible raw talent saw Hlogi overcoming the dual challenges of poverty and achieving in a traditionally male-dominated sport. She found a home at Mamelodi Sundowns, impressing coaches with her unmatched footwork and earning herself a massive fan base as she emerged as a shining role model for youth everywhere.

But it was after sharing a video of herself performing a dance in Mzansi’ signature amapiano style that the world discovered yet another of Hlogi’s talents.

The video quickly went viral and she started performing regularly at dance clubs, entering a whole new industry she would soon come to dominate. With the arrival of Covid-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdown, the dance club scene ground to a halt, but ever the innovator, Hlogi started uploading daily dance videos.

Gaining new fans, she has established herself as a social media celebrity with almost 500 000 Instagram followers, over 40 000 YouTube subscribers and 231 000 TikTok followers with 1.3 million likes on the short-form video sharing app. She now works alongside other top performers, putting out well-choreographed dance videos that are being imitated from coast to coast and from Kasi to Kasi.

“Dancing has always been there, as part of street culture,” Hlogi explains. “Amapiano is a vibe…it’s a culture…it’s a celebration of being young.”

Hlogi’s journey is so beautifully captured by South African-based premium content agency, Fell + Co. Incorporating world-class filming and editing, the company has put together a powerful, fast-paced storyline that is a must-watch for all on the African continent – and beyond.

“Mamelodi Sundowns has such a rich, diversified culture and this is truly reflected in the richness of the content showcased through the Sundowns Stories,” explained Greg Fell, Executive Producer. “The brand is finding such a unique way to engage with their supporters and, through this docuseries, is introducing new supporters to the brand.”

Footballer. Dancer. Singer. Insta-celebrity. Champion for women. Role model. Hlogi’s talent and influence knows no bounds. And she’s not done yet. Why?

“You want to be a star? Stand up. Go work. Push.”

Sundowns Stories Episode 3, ‘Hlogi’ is available now via YouTube on SundownsTV. You don’t want to miss this one.

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