Athlete inspires others to ‘reach finish line’

2016-04-26 06:00
Sphiwe Mjwara with his JG Zuma Marathon medal. Photo: nosipho mkhize

Sphiwe Mjwara with his JG Zuma Marathon medal. Photo: nosipho mkhize

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DEDICATION and love keeps Sphiwe Mjwara of Clermont aiming high as he recently took part in the recent JG Zuma Marathon and is training for the Comrades Marathon that takes place on Sunday 29 May.

Mjwara was, born in Fredville in Inchanga and describes life growing up as being “rough” because his parents, although very supportive, were unemployed.

“It was hard for us because our parents were unemployed, but had to take care of the six of us. I went to Fredville Primary and matriculated at Siphesihle High School.

“In 2004 things changed and life became better when my mom got a job as a domestic worker in Kloof.”

Mjwara said he fell in love with athletics when he was a teenager.

“My uncle Solomon “Scara” Mjwara inspired me. I used to watch him train every morning and evening until I fell in love with athletics.

“One of the first things I realised was that I wanted to keep myself busy and not fall into the trap of drugs. So I joined him, and then my younger brothers also joined us.

“When I relocated to Clermont my heart was saddened because I saw many children wandering in the street with no purpose in life. Some were involved in illegal substances, while many came from disadvantaged families and were orphaned.

“So I told myself that I need to try and help these children even though I didn’t have enough money to support them, however, my wish was to get them involved in sport and finish school.”

Mjwara then spoke to two Clermont school principals - Buhlebemfundo and Langa Secondary - and asked for them to put together a list of pupils who they think might be interested in athletics.

“I was surprised that a lot of pupils were interested in this project. I made up a team of more than 100 pupils, and the team grew and suddenly community members joined.

“I then registered the club as Amakhosi Athletic Club. I now have a club that has 160 members, whose ages range from 13 to 65.

“I conduct local fun walks to motivate club members. We also enter youth runs and marathons. One of the club members was asthmatic and had to rely on an asthma pump, but since he began training he hardly ever uses it.

“The challenge we face is that most of the athletes live with their grandparents and rely on government grant, but I help where I can and provide them with lunch when we go on trips, but it’s difficult because I am also unemployed.”

Amakhosi AC members are preparing for the youth run and the Comrades Marathon and are determined to make it to the finish line in time.

“We do what we do with love. I always tell my members to stay positive and motivated until they get to the finish line. We wouldn’t have done it without the help of Justine from Pinetown Build it who has been very supportive whenever we need him.”

For more information on Amakhosi­ AC, contact Mjwara on 071 021 6224.

SO I TOLD MYSELF THAT I NEED TO TRY AND HELP THESE CHILDREN EVEN THOUGH I DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO SUPPORT THEM, HOWEVER, MY WISH WAS TO GET THEM INVOLVED IN SPORT AND FINISH SCHOOL

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