Former junior Springbok Cedric Mkhize exudes confidence and a positive attitude despite the hand that fate dealt him. Mkhize who was paralysed in a car accident in 2007, at the dawn of his international rugby career, refused to be pinned down by the limitations that were imposed on him.
“When I regained consciousness three days after the accident, I was told that my spinal cord was damaged and that I would never play rugby again. And that I may spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.” It took Mkhize 48-hours to digest this information, during which he asked his family and girlfriend to give him space to think. “My rugby career had definitely ended, but I managed to make it out with my life intact. The biggest challenge when something like this happens to someone, is acceptance,” he explained.
“I asked myself four questions. ‘Cedric, can you think, can you smile, can you talk, can you laugh?’ Next to each of those were boxes that were ticked, and I was good to go!” He asked his family to come back, after answering these questions affirmatively. From then on he looked for the positives in his life.
After the accident, Mkhize took up wheelchair basketball and later, hand-cycling. He has completed several Tour Durbans, the Amashova and the 94.7 cycle. “Bike rides that would take a normal cyclist two hours could take me between three to four hours.” He determinedly added, “Uphills are challenging especially because I can’t get off my bike and push like everyone else!” Mkhize will be participating in the inaugural Mr Price Foundation Challenge on December 5 and 6, to help break the cycle of poverty and inequality among the youth of South Africa.
He advises the youth to use the quote that inspired him during his difficult moments, “Looking on the bright side does not blind you to the problems you are faced with, but helps you to see them in a positive light”. He emphasised that “essentially, every trouble that you are going through shouldn’t deter you from what you want to achieve. Always find a positive in a negative. Look at every challenge as an opportunity.”
Mkhize shared his inspiring story of hope with local cycling coaches Siyabonga Njiva and Cayde Muldoon, while out training for the Mr Price Foundation Challenge. Like Cedric Mkhize, these coaches give hope and inspiration to youth in underserved communities and townships, through the sport of cycling.
Muldoon, is now applying his knowledge from his sports management studies through the GO!Durban project.
Muldoon and Njiva coach children between the ages of 5 and 19 in KwaMashu, Inanda, Chesterville and KwaDabeka, using the sport to teach positive life lessons. Both coaches will be joining Mkhize in the Challenge, together with a group of children that they coach. “The most exciting thing about the Mr Price Foundation Challenge is getting kids from our sites involved. We recently had a race and saw how the kids responded racing against each other and just riding with each other. It’s nice to give them a different experience compared to just riding in their local neighbourhoods,” said Muldoon.
Originally from Port St. Johns in the Eastern Cape, cycling coach Siyabonga Njiva also builds bike trails. After his mother passed away when he was just eleven-years-old, Njiva took an interest in cycling through visitors to his hometown. The wheels of change positively impacted his life and he began cycling at an elite level, under the guidance of Peschl Sports, going on to participate in the Cape Epic, Sani2C non-stop and many other events. “My dream is to give back to the community I come from. I want to own my own company, guiding international tourists cycling through the beautiful Eastern Cape and to share our culture and community life,” said Njiva. “Cycling has changed my life, and I want to give back to my community through cycling!”
Join the Mr Price Foundation Challenge in partnership with Comrades Marathon on December 5 and 6, a fundraising event, and give back to the youth of our country by running or cycling. Join Siyabonga Njiva and Cayde Muldoon at Home Bru Graft Cafe, in Umhlanga, on Sunday December 6. Home Bru is offering free boerie rolls and coffees to a limited number of Challenge participants who stop by the coffee shop showing their Challenge number. There’s also a group cycle ride leaving the coffee shop at 6:30am.
Image: Local cycling coaches, Cayde Muldoon and Siyabonga Njiva, alongside hand-cyclist, Cedric Mkhize, practicing for the inaugural Mr Price Foundation Challenge Image: Mr Price Foundation/ Pierre Tostee
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