‘They called us the Illuminati’: Banned long jumper Luvo Manyonga on how he blew R84m.


‘They called us the Illuminati’: Banned long jumper Luvo Manyonga on how he blew R84m.

‘We would blow R300 000 in two days on drugs’: Troubled Olympic silver medallist Luvo Manyonga opens up about how he lost it all.

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Every I Blew It story has a common denominator or more – they are cars, alcohol and women. However, every so often, drug addiction also rears its ugly head and plays a major role in someone’s downfall. For Luvo Manyonga, an Olympic long jump silver medallist, his addiction to crystal meth saw him lose it all.

The 33-year-old athlete – who is also the African long jump record holder – opened up on the Mzansi Magic documentary series about how he blew R84 million in a couple of years


I Blew It looks into the lives of South Africans who struck gold when they received an unexpected good fortune, but blew it all in an instant.


Manyonga’s life changed for the better after his endorsement deals with Nike in 2017 and 2018, which saw him pocketing an astounding R84 million. These came after he had been suspended in 2012 when crystal meth was detected in his urine.

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“They suspended me for 18 months. After the ban I continued using drugs and things started going South. I was smoking, robbing people until 2015,” Manyonga explained.

That year he relocated to Pretoria to train for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics which were held in Brazil in 2016. During that tournament, Manyonga won a silver medal.

“The country gave me R250 000 and in 2017 I got a big deal from Nike for R42 million… In 2018 also, plus minus the same amount,” he said.


Manyonga spent his money on expensive cars, women and drugs. That was after he renovated his parents’ house in Paarl, Western Cape, and took care of his family and some of his community members’ needs.

“The cars I rented cost R20 000 per day. On top of that I’d pay R100 000 for insurance because I’d return them wrecked the next day.

“I would hide my drugs between the car seats and struggle to get them out and tear the seat… in three days I’d burst the car tyres.”

Manyonga also bought luxury German cars.

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“I bought the German Coupe for roughly R900 000… Also, I’d be renting presidential hotels,” he adds.

According to his best friend and uncle, Sphelele Kwaza, they sent close to R400 000 on accommodation at a hotel for a month where they partied up a storm. His sister, Vuyiseka Manyonga, added that the athlete had his own personal drug dealer.

“We were daredevils. We were called the Illuminati,” Kwaza said. “They called him Lucifer. I was Hellboy. We were the Illuminati in Gqeberha… We would blow R300 000 in two days on drugs,” he added.


In 2021, SowetanLIVE reported that Manyonga had been banned for four years for a doping violation.

Manyonga was accused of missing an out-of-competition drug test on 26 November 2019, and then two filing failures, on 1 April 2020 and 1 October 2020, where he failed to properly submit his whereabouts for upcoming months.

Speaking on I Blew It, he said his agent had failed to give an update of his home address, which is why he missed the tests.

With the athlete down and out, and hooked on drugs, he was sent to a rehabilitation centre in Durban, but escaped. He ended up living in an abandoned building in the KwaZulu-Natal city.

Manyonga is hoping to get a new lease in life when his ban ends in December this year


Alaa Hamdy

Professional entertainment content writer in Hanover, South Africa. I know all the secrets of celebrities

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