South African Paralympic and World Championship gold medallist Ntombizanele (Zanele) Situ is an inspiration to those who shy away from challenges.
She participated in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo specialising in the javelin throw.
Situ, 50, is a two-time gold medallist at both the Paralympics and the IPC Athletics World Championships and is the first female South African black athlete to win a Paralympic gold medal.
At the age 11, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis in her spine which left her paralysed from the waist down. However, since childhood she had loved sport and after becoming disabled, she took to parasport and participated in seated throwing events such as javelin, shot put, discus and table tennis.
With her motto “If you can dream it you can do it”, she has scaled great heights during her three-decade long career.
She urges parents to invest in their children’s upbringing for the betterment of them and society.
This is the sixth Paralympics Situ competed in. She said the biggest challenge she experienced was disability discrimination. “Though, I did not let that bother me and I focused more on doing my best in parasport.”
“I see my participation in the global sports arena for paraplegics as a celebration of being a strong woman,” she said.
Situ has the backing of private higher education institution MANCOSA who has donated a wheelchair especially designed and built for her by Zahied Mukaddam which she used during the games in Tokyo.
“I am most thankful to MANCOSA and Zahied for their goodwill towards me. I am hopeful that more organisations will sponsor younger para-athletes that need assistance to reach their goals,” said Situ.
Lutfiya Adam, Director in Human Resources and Employability at MANCOSA at MANCOSA, said the MANCOSA Centre for Women in Leadership (CWIL) rooted for Situ in all her games in Tokyo.
“The wheelchair donated to Situ is only one of the many supportive causes we are involved in.
“The CWIL is committed to advocating for women to be given an opportunity to explore meaningful work and professional opportunities and will continue to strive to create an enabling environment for the promotion of women leadership roles,” she said.