The sports industry is a widely developing industry in South Africa, which has continually contributed to the growth of its economy. This fact remains veracious when it comes to the growth of South African females in this industry.
Due to the ever growing ideals of the world’s societal views, it has become more common to see females take on this role and it is a great time to shed some light on female sport personalities in South Africa.
Ntombizanele Situ, better known as Zanele Situ is a 47 year old Paralympic athlete born in Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal. At the age of twelve Situ lost the ability to walk due to a tuberculosis infection and was later left paralysed and confined to a wheelchair. This untimely event did not stop Situ from rising up and becoming the Paralympic champion that she is today. Situ first started competing in 1998 in the IPC World Championships and in 2000 became the first South African female black athlete to win a Paralympic title, which was the gold medal for javelin F54 at the 2000 summer Paralympics which was held in Sydney.
In 2003, Situ was recognized nationally and was awarded The Order of Ikhamanga, an honorary award for her contributions to sport in the country. She was later honoured internationally, receiving the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award from the International Paralympic committee recognizing her as the female athlete who best embodied the spirit of the games. Situ continued to shine between 2012 and 2017, achieving a personal best in 2016 in the Javelin, throwing 17.90 meters.
Situ continues to participate in athletics, most recently winning the bronze for the javelin throw F54 at the 2017 London World Championships.
She also shares her wisdom and inspire people all over the world. Her motto is “keep going, follow your dreams and never give up. Even if something happens to make you sad or scared.” Zanele Situ is a role model to many young women in South Africa and is the embodiment of perseverance, hard work and passion.
She is proof that dreams can be realised despite circumstance.
PINKSTIG celebrates Ntombizanele Situ for reaching this milestone in her professional career and as she continues to inspires athletes ‘to keep going, follow your dreams and never give up’
written by Mika Naidoo, Wits student Astrophysics, intern writer at UniMedia Pro
Photos taken by Karin Le roux Twitter: @karleroux