South African ultra-marathon runner Zanele Hlatshwayo is turning her mourning into inspiration, and is running 18 marathons in seven months to help raise awareness about depression. Picture: Facebook
South African ultra-marathon runner Zanele Hlatshwayo is turning her mourning into inspiration, and is running 18 marathons in seven months to help raise awareness about depression.

Hlatshwayo, 33, who lost her father, Phillip Hlatshwayo, to suicide, has launched a campaign, #Rise18, in partnership with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag), to raise funds for the group through the crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy. She is hoping to raise R180000 to help those in need of mental health services.

Depression is one of the country’s silent killers and is the greatest contributor to suicide. According to Sadag, of the 460 South Africans who attempt suicide every day, 23 end up dying.

Zanele Hlatshwayo

“I want to inform those who are going through similar situations to what I went through that there is hope... they too can rise,” said Hlatshwayo.

She aims to complete her challenge in July, at the Washie 100 Miler (160km) in the Eastern Cape. Since January she has run 10 races, and upcoming ones include the Two Oceans and the Comrades marathons.