Third year Education student Mr Nkosinathi Radebe smiles when he talks about being an avid BMX rider – and for good reason.
He has been competing in BMX racing since he was 14 years old, starting at the Giba Gorge Mountain Bike Park in Mariannhill. He is now a competitor in major national and international BMX events.
‘The life of a BMX rider has a lot of ups and downs – there are many challenges and it is up to the individual whether they succeed or not,’ said Radebe.
He developed a love and passion for the sport when his dad took him and his young brother to the bike park at weekends. This is where he got involved in BMX racing.
Radebe was introduced to Mr Jason Nichole, the former manager at the Giba Gorge track who started the BMX development team. Nichole saw the potential in Radebe and other riders from surrounding communities.
Radebe soon flourished under Nichole’s tutelage and finished third in his first championship finals.
He was promoted to the category of expert rider and had to quickly adapt to the dynamics of racing in that high-level field. ‘I remained grounded and trained harder,’ said Radebe. He then qualified for the National BMX Championships in which he finished third.
Aged 16, Radebe participated in the BMX World Championships in Pietermaritzburg where he got to meet his role models Sifiso Nhlapo, Sam Willoughby and Maris Stromberg.
Radebe went on to wear green and gold jerseys in a number of national and international competitions. He represented South Africa in the BMX Africa Challenge held in Zimbabwe.
His hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed and he landed a sponsorship from Build-It Builder’s Warehouse to help him with his racing kit, fees and bike parts.
Radebe finished second in the Continental Challenge, which resulted in him being ranked No 2 in Africa. He continues to race and sees himself playing a significant role in promoting cycling on the Edgewood campus.
He is a vital component of a UKZN programme promoting cycling as a community initiative and is trying to encourage Edgewood students to cycle from their homes to campus and back to improve their health and support the fight against obesity-related conditions among the youth.
Words: Melissa Mungroo; Sabelo Nxumalo