Social workers to run marathon to help top swimmer

2013-05-14 00:00

DESPITE having a learning disability, Cindy Mkhize (22) has a great

swimming talent and has dominated in regional and international competitions for the mentally challenged.

In August, Mkhize will be part of the SA team that will participate in the International Sports Federation for Para-athletes with Intellectual Disabilities (Inas) World Swimming Championships in Noumea, New Caledonia.

A string of medals in regional and international competitions has made Mkhize one of the top five swimmers in her class in the world.

To go to the Inas championships, Mkhize needs R42 000,which she cannot afford.

Two mental health social workers, Sihle Kraai and Bongi Ndzingi, have decided to raise the money by running the Comrades Marathon on June 2.

The social workers are asking for a donation for every kilometre they run. They aim to run 89 km in total.

“Cindy has no family to support her. She doesn’t have money, but she has lots of talent. We want to help and support her, which is why we are running the Comrades for her,” said Kraai.

For Elna Welman, the executive director of the PMB Mental Health Society, Kraai and Ndzingi’s pledge for Mkhize shows a sense of community.

“Cindy is such a shy girl with an enormous talent. Going to the world championships will be such an incredible experience for her, one that she is excited about.

“Sihle and Bongi have run the Comrades Marathon before and have trained hard for this one. They can definitely complete it for Cindy and themselves,” Welman told The Witness.

Since 2006, Mkhize has won over 70 medals for swimming in regional and international competitions. In 2008 and again in 2009 she participated with the SA Special Schools team in the Global Games in the Czech Republic.

She won medals in both competitions. In 2012 she competed in the KZN Multi-Disability Championships in Durban, where she received the trophy for top female swimmer.

Mkhize lives in The Palms, a residential facility of the PMB Mental Health Society.

She not only uses her talent for swimming to win competitions, but also teaches toddlers at Footsteps Preschool how to swim and helps to coach first- and third-graders at Piet Retief Primary School.


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