Para-surfer amped for Midmar Mile

Similonhle Dlamini at the finish line of a previous Midmar Mile.

Similonhle Dlamini at the finish line of a previous Midmar Mile.

Published Jan 13, 2024


Durban — KwaMashu para-surfer Similonhle Dlamini says she is ready to showcase her talents at next month’s Aquelle Midmar Mile.

Dlamini, 40, is confident she will do well in the race which runs over the weekend of February 10 and 11.

This will be her fourth Midmar, joining thousands of other water-lovers ranging from apprentices to Olympians of different ages and abilities.

Dlamini said she was inspired to compete in the event as a challenge to herself, and to prove to herself that she was able to complete the mile, while also bringing awareness to and for differently abled people.

“It is easy to see or know what people cannot do because of limitations, physical and otherwise. However, focusing on one’s abilities allows for limitations to be overcome. I am an advocate for the inclusion of differently-abled people and sport brings people together,” she said.

Dlamini said she owed her love for aquatics to her family.

“My father was super fit and an athlete. He always allowed and encouraged me to try any and every activity. I started swimming when I was about 3. One of my first galas was at the Brickfield swimming pool and my grandmother took me there. I don’t remember whether I won or not, but that cemented my love for swimming,” she said.

Dlamini lives with proximal femoral focal deficiency,and uses an aboveknee prosthesis on her right leg to improve her mobility and allow her to overcome many obstacles.

“I can even drive a manual car. My dad taught me how to drive and he suggested we try the manual car. I was successful in my attempt and it has been manual since then,” she said.

Dlamini is the reigning KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa ParaSurfing Champion in the women’s kneel division and also participated in the KZN Champs and SA Champs in 2022 and 2023.

She was invited to the BallitoPro 2023, the first time that a world surfing event featured adaptive/Para Surfing.

She has also represented South Africa at the ParaSurfing World Championships 2022 at Pismo Beach California in the US, and the ParaSurfing World Championships 2023 at Huntington Beach, California.

Dlamini said the event organisers accommodated people of all kinds and this was encouraging.

Her preparations included visiting the gym five times a week, swimming, boxing and doing aerobics.

Dlamini works as an accountant for Transnet. She is currently pursuing her Chartered Institute of Management Accounting qualification.

When she is not swimming or surfing, she can be found catching up on some studies or watching television.

Anele Zama, managing director of Made for More, a non-profit organisation based in Durban that aims to empower and enable differently abled people and which counts Dlamini as a member, said she was proud of how far Dlamini had taken her love for water.

“She is someone who loves what she does and does it well. I hope she conquers the Midmar Mile and most importantly, enjoys herself,” she said.

Independent on Saturday