Limpopo landlubber sets sail in round-the-world yacht race

2015-10-31 09:00

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SA youngsters in longest global yacht race

2013-11-04 09:09

Eight young South Africans, all with almost no experience, are taking part in a global yacht race. Watch this video to hear about their experiences.WATCH

Cape Town - Sewisa Lawrence Magane, a 23-year-old from Groblersdal in Limpopo, has never been on board a boat before - yet he sets sail on Saturday from Cape Town across one of the world’s most challenging oceans in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

The organisers said he was one of eight young South Africans, aged 18 to 23, who were chosen to take part in the world’s longest ocean race as part of the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation relay team. 

Magane joins the South Africa sponsored team IchorCoal, one of 12 identical 70-foot ocean-racing yachts crewed by amateur sailors under the command of professional skippers, the organisers said.

The Clipper Race is the longest ocean endurance challenge around the planet at 40 000 nautical miles. It set off from London two months ago and returns there at the end of July next year.

"Arriving in Cape Town and seeing all the boats lined up together for the first time since London was fantastic, but it shows I have to be ready and I am ready to go now," Magane said.

'Nothing is going to stop me'

He starts Race three from South Africa to Western Australia, named by host port Albany as The Wardan Whip. The fleet leaves Quay 6 at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday and sees Magane and the other competitors cross 4845 nautical miles, taking in the notorious Southern Ocean.

“It’s my first time in Cape Town and I have enjoyed every moment of it with all the other ambassadors. It's great meeting new people," Magane said.

"I am so excited the other ambassadors are here, because they have given me confidence and made me feel like I can do it. Nothing is going to stop me. 

"I have been waiting for this for a long time, so I am excited. I am looking forward to achieving something remarkable by finishing the race and learning new skills."

Magane lost his parents at a young age, and remembers how difficult it was to "be a child and a parent at the same time". He has been supported by the Ndlovu Care Group, which is the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation's charity for 2015-16. 

"My friends and family wish they could be here, but they are so happy for me and my experience. They tell me it’s a big opportunity for me and I should go for it and get the best from it. 

"My ambition is to be a doctor. When I get back from the race, my goal is to study hard to reach my dream. I feel strongly about being a doctor. I am always thinking about it and if I can focus on my studies, and be serious about what I need to be, I can make it. Nothing is impossible. I like to help people who are sick."

'I would like to inspire some of the youth'

The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation short-listed the ambassadors to take part in the race from nearly 200 applicants. The opportunity aims to provide new personal development skills to the ambassadors which they can give back to their communities and use to inspire others.

Foundation chairperson Dirk Van Daele participated in the 2009-10 edition of the Clipper Race and saw a similar project make a profound difference to young people from deprived inner city areas in Europe.

He launched the first South African initiative in 2013 and created the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation last year to provide longer-term support and development opportunities for the selected candidates from challenging backgrounds in South Africa. 

Each ambassador takes part in one leg of the race and this year the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation crew members will raise awareness and funding for the Ndlovu Care Group's innovative research into the long-term effects of HIV treatment.

"To be here raising funds for Ndlovu Care Group is what I feel like I can do without any help. I can see many people dying of Aids and most of them are young, and I am young.  

"I would like to inspire some of the youth about what I am doing and stay far away from risking their lives with bad behaviour. When I get home I will share my experience and ask the community what they can do to achieve in life and how they can do it," Magane said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  yachting

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