African lads sail over old-age superstition

In some parts of Africa, people fear being on water and project bad omen. 

Courageous kids in Soweto, South Africa’s biggest township, are sailing over old-age superstition to become Olympians in the future. Now, that’s a good omen.

Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club founded in 2003 has been a huge catalyst. In the past and in most parts of the country, you find mostly white people kayaking.

Nkosi Mzolo, the club coach said:

“There are still negative connotations attached to children being in the water. People still believe that there is a (supernatural) snake that lives in this dam, so kids should not be playing here,”

South Africa is a beautiful country but with a high youth unemployment problem. 

According to the latest statistics office figures released in June, about half of the young people around the age of 15 to 34 are unemployed.  

Overcoming fear to go out and kayak, swim, or sail is indeed an opportunity for youths to do great in water sports.

For Benjamin Mntonintshi kayaking with his oars on the Klip River — which runs through the predominantly Black township, the water is therapeutic. He is one of the best kayakers in the province around the biggest city of  Johannesburg and currently ranks second in the under-23 category in Gauteng.

He said:

“The water helps me focus and be alone with my thoughts. When I’m facing challenges in life, I come here, take my boat and get into the water,”

Cap: Benjamin Mntonintshi, 20, at the Orlando Dam in Soweto, South Africa

His dream is to qualify for the Olympics someday.

By Elijah Christopher

Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.

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