Soweto Youth overcomes the odds; becomes first black South African to receive podium place at country’s biggest river race
The tale of Siseko Ntondini is a tale of hope, courage and determination to overcome the odds.
The youth from Soweto was born into circumstances dictated by an Apartheid legacy but has overcome these challenges through sheer drive and a will to succeed.
This past weekend Ntondini placed third in South Africa’s biggest kayak river race, the Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon in Cradock, and became the first black South African to ever do so.
Out of a field of more than 2000 paddlers, Ntondini and partner Len Jenkins Jnr achieved this remarkable feat after training together for less than a week.
Ntondini is a member of the Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club (SCARC) – the brainchild of ADreach CEO, Brad Fisher – an organization that is giving the youth of the historic township an opportunity to uplift themselves.
“It is an incredible achievement to receive a place at the podium at the Hansa Fish, which has a bigger field than even the Dusi Marathon,” explains Fisher, “This is exactly why we started SCARC; to show these kids that their futures do not need to be determined by their backgrounds.”
“Siseko has been a member of SCARC for ten years and I know that his guts and determination will take him even further; well beyond this historic win.”
The fast rising star has had a string of recent success after wining the Lowveld Croc River Race for the second time this year. He will have his eyes on South Africa’s paddling prize when he looks to challenge the field at 2016’s Dusi Marathon.
“SCARC is really an example of quality sports development in action,” says Fisher “It is showing South Africa that we can use sport to uplift people without it becoming a political bun fight”.
“The SCARC paddlers are now in high demand to partner with seasoned paddlers who are really the best of the best. This is based purely on their hard work and ability. Canoeing’s development initiatives are fast becoming the future of paddling in our country through the members sheer determination to change their circumstances.”