Times of Eswatini

Phumlile inspires Slojos Nokuphiwa


MBABANE – Talent, passion and determinat­ion will make you reach the stars.

That is the story of Swazi Slojos young and upcoming female athlete Nokuphiwa Zwane. She has one gold and three silver medals from the four competitio­ns she participat­ed in a space of six months. She further boasts of her high school gold medal. She did not want to do athletics, but Nkhaba High Sports teacher Bonginkosi Mdluli convinced her otherwise.

“I wasn’t sure at that time; I was just doing it for fun. My sports teacher just pushed me to do it. It wasn’t by choice; I felt I was too young to compete and I wasn’t aware that I was talented,” said Zwane.

At the age of 15, she recorded her first gold in the 3 000 metres during the 2013 schools athletics competitio­ns.


She, however, doubted her capabiliti­es up until 2020 after completing her high school education. Under the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, she began solo training and was a Mbabane parkrunner.

As if she knew that if you wanted to go far, you must be in a team; Zwane joined Slojos in August 2021.

“I then tried by all means to find a team, so that I compete among my team as opposed to joining the races individual­ly.

“I started off with 5km races and upgraded to 10km as I felt the former were for the young ones while with the latter, I wanted to improve my personal best time record,” the 25-year old athlete disclosed.

However, she was dealt a major blow early in her career as there had been a period that she was ruled out by an injury for months.

She bounced back in the middle of last year to participat­e in the 10km of the Vusi Masuku Half Marathon in October and achieved second spot.

She thereafter maintained the same position a month later under the same category in the Municipal Council of Mbabane (MCM) Half Marathon in November.

Her best performanc­e was in December during the Scrambled Legs Charity Half Marathon where she kept everybody behind her heels to win gold in the 15km race.


So far this year, she got the second position in the 10km race in the Yellow Epilepsy Half Marathon held three weeks ago.

She came second in the 1 500 metres Track and Field race over the past weekend.

“Don’t worry; I’ll deal with this one athlete who’s always in front of me in the races.

“This year I’m working on improving my speed so that I cross the country’s borders to compete with other athletes beyond and learn some few things,” she narrated. However, it seems true that an apple does not fall far from the tree. Nokuphiwa seems to be walking on her father Christophe­r’s footsteps who was also a great runner. She is also being inspired by Eswatini and Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) top athlete Phumlile Ndzinisa.

“I’m a product of my father’s guidance as he had been a great athlete too. I also look up to REPS’ Phumlile. She is a very bold and energetic female athlete having competed even on an internatio­nal stage.

I’m thinking that one day maybe I should join her to take some few tips on how she does it too,” the go-getter athlete said.


She also added that being a marathon runner helped her build her physique and stay healthy to avoid being attacked by diseases.

She also mentioned that it would have been a dream impossible without the support from his team.

Zwane felt that if Slojos could get some kind of sponsorshi­p, they would take local athletics by storm.

She further anticipate­s a best spot in the February 25 World Cross Country championsh­ips too.

 ?? (Pic:Nimrod Hlophe) ?? Nokuphiwa Zwane
(Pic:Nimrod Hlophe) Nokuphiwa Zwane

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