Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
Disability is not inability!
CYCLIST Pressmore Musundi has a dream to participate and perhaps win a gold medal at the African Games, despite having no toes on both feet.
This year the African Games will be held in Ghana from August 4 to 19.
The games are a regional multi-sport event held every four years (one year before the Olympic Games).
Musundi, a mountain biker, who races under the Trialwolf Lions Club has been a revelation since he was thrust into the MTB world in 2016.
He has won several awards in local 947 Cycle Challenge races and participated in the Cape Epic race in 2019 where he pulled an incredible outing.
Musundi, from rural Chiredzi East, Chief Gudo area, left his home country as a 14-year-old to find a job across the Limpopo River.
When he got to South Africa, he got employed as a gardener by Lionel Steeler who gave him a bike to ride to and from work. It was then that some members of Pretoria South Lions Club realised that his riding was somewhat special. The club asked him to join with the goal of transforming him into a professional cyclist.
While at the club, he slowly clawed up from being an amateur into a trailblazer Pro earning him an MTB contract with Trialwolf Lions Club.
Musundi has been pursuing his childhood dream of cycling although born without toes.
“I was born with no toes on both feet at St. Joseph Clinic, Chiredzi North, in a rural area at a place called Mafunjwa under Chief Gudo. I grew up there but used to visit Harare often, as my father was working at the KG6 base camp as a soldier in the early 1990s.
I started school at Sangwe Primary School and unfortunately had to drop out of Takunda Secondary School in 2004 when my dad passed away.
That’s when I came to South Africa,” said Musundi.
He said although born without toes, he has been an avid cycler from the age of five when he would travel to school on a bike.
“Cycling has always been my passion since I was five years old. I used to use buffalo bikes to travel to school but had no idea that it would end up becoming my career!
“When I first arrived in South Africa, searching for a better life, I started working as a gardener at Mooikloof Estate.
There, the people I worked for bought me a 24-inch mountain bike so that I could get to work,” said Musundi.
He said he joined Pretoria South Lions Club which saw his talent and recruited him to cycle for the development team and the rest is history.
Musundi said he was working hard to qualify for the African Games this year so that his feats become an inspiration to children.
“If you want to achieve anything in life, you must have faith that you can do it. Don’t give up, keep going even if it’s hard. You’ll get there.
“It would be such an honour to qualify for the African Games! I’d love to inspire others and help them realise that their dreams are worth chasing, no matter where they come from,” said Musundi.
He said cycling excites him as it helped him stay away from the vices of life.
“Cycling definitely drives and excites me… It’s helped me stay away from the wrong things. Every day when I wake up, I look forward to doing what I enjoy, which is being on my bike and training or racing. My bike is my best friend.
“In terms of frustrations, I’d say having painful feet is a big one. While the pain hinders my strength, I never give up. I just carry on and try to forget about it,” said Musundi.
He said he is inspired by many people, especially his teammates.
“There are so many people, I can’t list them all. But I would say my Pyga teammates, Philip Buys and Gert Heyns. Then there’s Phillimon Sebona, of course, who’s currently working with Curro School. He helped me when I was still riding for the Lions Club and showed me that it’s possible to become a professional cyclist, even if the circumstances aren’t ideal.
His background is similar to mine, so he just gets it,” said Musundi.