Sesona Tshume, 13, from King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, is a self-taught contortionist. Photo: supplied
Sesona Tshume, 13, from King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, is a self-taught contortionist. Photo: supplied

PICS: Self-taught Eastern Cape contortionist flexes her skills

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Mar 26, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - A teenager from King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape has her heart set on becoming a contortionist.

Sesona Tshume, 13, a Grade 7 pupil, is self-taught in the contortionist art but needs a trainer to advance.

Contortion is a performance art in which performers showcase their extreme physical flexibility. Their acts often accompany acrobatics, circus acts, street performances and other live performing arts.

Speaking to the African News Agency (ANA), the shy young girl said her interest was piqued after watching contortion videos on YouTube.

“I started contorting last year in July. I kept seeing YouTube videos and that encouraged me. I started practising every day for about 10 to 15 minutes.

“This is really something I would like to do. When I do contortions it makes me happy and I feel so relaxed. When I grow up I would like to be a YouTube contortionist or a doctor,” she said.

Sesona Tshume, 13, from King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, says her interest in the contortionist art came from watching YouTube videos and she has been practising ever since. Photo: supplied

While this has become a real sport for her, the determined young girl said she really wished she could find a trainer as there are no places in her area that will allow her to take the sport further.

“I would like a trainer. I can see myself performing for other people and I do make my own videos,” Sesona told ANA.

Her proud mother, Zukiswa Tshume, 47, said she was not always as receptive about her daughter’s skill.

“I wasn’t happy at all about this and told Sesona she needed to stop because I was scared she would break her bones. I was ready to take her to a doctor to have her checked out,” Zukiswa laughed.

Self-taught contortionist Sesona Tshume, 13, from King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, is looking for a trainer. Photo: supplied

However, there was nothing that could stop her determined little girl.

She said when her children went to visit their grandparents in December for the holidays in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), Sesona and her 15-year-old brother opened a YouTube account, made videos, uploaded them and sent them to her.

“When I saw the videos of her doing contortion my perception changed and I was happy.

“She is a league player in chess at her school. I would never have imagined that she would take on a sport.

“She is extremely determined and passionate about this,” Zukiswa told ANA.

How Sesona Tshume, 13, a self-taught contortionist from King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, spends her downtime. Photo: supplied

The family, however, have been struggling to get their daughter into a gymnastics class or even find her a trainer to take her to the next level.

Zukiswa said she enquired about a gymnastic school in East London; however, they do not hold weekend classes and it is simply too far to travel during the week.

“Before I didn’t know a thing about contortion or anything. Sesona and her brother are teaching me. I have watched videos and I am amazed.

“She has always been a flexible child, so now as we go about I am also learning,” she told ANA.

The family are hoping to find some way to help their daughter when they relocate to Gqeberha later this year.

“We really need to get her a trainer,” she added.

African News Agency (ANA)

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