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Cycling to success

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My name is Thembinkosi Samson Nxumalo. I'm a cyclist, and work with an organisation called Afrika Tikkun. Growing up in a family of seven and with parents who had little schooling was never an easy path to walk on. In a few weeks, I plan to travel to the USA to compete in my first international triathlon.

I was born in 1990 and lived my first six years in Winterfeld, north of Pretoria, then moved to Soshanguve. Shoshanguve was my second home, and that’s where I started my school days.

In 2003, my family decided that it was time we move closer to our relatives. It was my worst year ever. When I arrived at Diepsloot, I was denied the chance of studying because schools were full and had no space for me. As young boy I had no powers or ideas on what to do, but had to stay for the whole year at home.

In 2004, I went to Itirele-Zenzele comprehensive high school to do my grade 8. As an individual, I wanted to be the first child to pass grade 12 in my family, and I was the first one to complete.

My father is a brick layer who runs a local business. My mother never went to school because her parents never took her to school. She is currently working as a dish washer in Sandton.

When I was young, I wanted to become a police officer to protect people and help out my family. But as I was growing up, I felt in love with sports and dreamed to be one of the best around in the world. In 2009 I applied for a scholarship to the USA for soccer, and unfortunately I didn’t get one due to low marks.

I registered at SWGC FET College in Randburg and was doing a management course that I was supposed to complete this year, but due to financial problems, I had to drop out.

So last year I was told about Afrika Tikkun by a friend, he told me about the various things they do for the community. I went to Centre and applied to volunteer. On 1 May 2011 I was hired to render my service to community. I was privileged to be hired to do what I love, because I love working with the kids.

When I was 12 years old, I used to ride my brother’s BMX bicycle, but I never thought of becoming a cyclist someday. As I was coaching my soccer team on Saturdays, I saw the triathlon team training. I then set down and thought, it’s about time I learn new things, then I joined the team. As we were training, our sports facilitator told us that the will be a 94.7 Momentum Cycling Challenge that would take place on the 20th November. With others from Afrika Tikkun, I entered.

Questions kept on roaming in my mind, am I fit? Can I do this? I was a bit scared and nervous at the same time, because I never competed in a challenge like this one before. The day that we were all waiting for had finally come and we started the race. I started my race very slow to gain more confidence and get used to cycling around thousands of cyclists. After believing in myself, I then started to increase my speed so catch up and that made me to cycle for 3 hours 30 minutes.

Since I joined Afrika Tikkun, I have managed to get some of the things that I always wanted to have. I have managed to move out of the 2 room shack that I was living in with my parents and siblings. I got I chance to compete in one of the recognized races in South Africa, the Momentum 94.7 Cycling Challenge. With a help of Afrika Tikkun, I am now a qualified Inter LFA referee.

America is one of the G7 or developed countries. I was taught that America is an umbrella of the world and when it sneezes the whole world catches flu. It’s a country that that has the most powers than the other six. It’s a country of excellence through the various skills they have. It’s a country that contains the best participants in the world of sports

As a passionate person in sports, I dream to fly to USA so to meet the best and the experts. By so doing that, it will help me to gain more knowledge and skills that will boost my morale and career. My aim is to go and learn as much as possible and be able to teach and give back to my country. I would appreciate it a lot to be given a chance to fulfill my dream and represent my country in United States of America.

Thembinkosi Samson Nxumalo coaches soccer with Afrika Tikkun and is a cyclist. With his teammates, he is scheduled to travel to Nevada to fulfil his dream to compete in an international triathlon. Read more about the trio in Township triathletes ready for Vegas

 

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