Soccer legend Benni McCarthy has joined the fight against woman and child abuse, revealing that he grew up in a violent household as a child.
The Bafana star spoke about how his father used to beat up his mom, after endorsing rights group, Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA), and comes during the 16 Days of Activism For No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.
In an interview with SuperSport, where Benni, 39, also works as a commentator, he relived the pain of growing up in Hanover Park, where he would often see his mom beaten up by his drunk father.
“I was not abused but mentally it was (distressing),” Benni says.
“Most of my friends, we have the same sort of families, and dads that like a drink or two on the weekends, and obviously when people are filled with alcohol, it makes you do crazy things.
“My mom, unfortunately for her, bless her, she was the one on the end of a beating. And because I was the youngest of three kids at the time I was always in the house and the one witnessing all this.”
In the emotional interview, Benni admits he used the violence he witnessed as motivation to become a soccer star.
“I just made a promise to myself that I wanna work my socks off and make a success of myself so I can get my mother the life she deserved,” he says.
Benni’s dad Dudley passed away in 2008, from complications related to diabetes.
It’s believed that his mother Dora McCarthy still lives in the Cape.
The former striker, who is the only South African footballer to win a Uefa Champions League medal, has four children, three with his first wife and one with his second.
He says coming from an abusive household, he always wanted to be a better dad.
“For all the blows that she (Dora) received, I promised myself that I don’t ever want to become that guy, beat people who can’t defend themselves, women and children.”
Benni has encouraged other sports stars and celebs to join the anti-abuse campaign.
“If more celebrities and well known people would come forward, especially men, then things will change,” he adds.