Clive Ndou
1 minute read
4 Jun 2014
8:00 am

‘Tell my son I’m proud of him’ – Bongmusa’s mother

Clive Ndou

In one of the large rondavels in the yard where Comrades winner Bongmusa Mthembu grew up, his mother, Sizeni Mthembu, sits at a fireplace preparing a meal.

Bongmusa's mother, Sizeni (right), grandson, Sisanda (centre) and neigbour, Sylivia Dawe, are proud of the athlete's achievement. Picture: Jabu Shandu (supplied 3 June 2014)

She is a very proud mother.

“When he left here after matric he went to Pietermaritzburg, where he worked as a labourer at a construction company. Then somebody told me he left the job and was now a runner. I could hardly make sense of all this,” she speaks of her son.

“Then one day – I think it was in 2010 – a neigbour told me he saw Bongmusa on TV. That is when I realised that maybe one day this running business of his would take him somewhere.

“I’m very proud of what he has achieved,” she said.

FILE PICTURE: Elite Runner, Bongmusa Mthembu sprays water on himself during the 89th Comrades Marathon, 01 June 2014, from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. Mthembu went on to win the annual ultra-marathon. The event attracted over 18,000 runners from around the world to partake in the 89km race. Picture: Alaister Russell

FILE PICTURE: Elite Runner, Bongmusa Mthembu sprays water on himself during the 89th Comrades Marathon, 01 June 2014, from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. Mthembu went on to win the annual ultra-marathon. The event attracted over 18,000 runners from around the world to partake in the 89km race. Picture: Alaister Russell

Mthembu said although Bongmusa was active in sport while growing up, she never thought her son would one day become a celebrated sportsman.

The athlete’s mother, who single-handedly raised him alongside eight other kids after her husband died in 1997, said she was looking forward to Bongmusa’s next visit home. The athlete is currently based in Pietermaritzburg.

“I think the hardship he experienced while growing up strengthened his resolve to achieve success. If you see him, tell him the family and the entire community is waiting for him. There will be big celebrations when he comes,” the mother said.

Bongmusa on Sunday became the third runner from the province to win the 89km marathon.