Thandile Zonke: overcoming the Odds through sport

This weekend saw the national wheelchair basketball team head to Sasolburg for the Sasol-NWU Senior Basketball Tournament.  The Sasol AmaWheelaBoys participated in an exhibition match, taking on NWU VTC, showing off their skills and imparting knowledge on wheelchair basketball for all those in attendance.  The match was followed by a green v gold game designed to showcase the team and serve as preparation for the 2019 IWBF Africa Paralympic Qualifiers and subsequent 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.  Participating on the day was the team’s inspirational vice-captain, Thandile Zonke.  Zonke, who was diagnosed with polio at an early age, uses his participation in the national team to motivate and demonstrate that disability doesn’t need to be an obstacle.

Zonke, who’s story is currently being profiled as a part of WSBA and Sasol’s #Limitless programme, believes that basketball gives him a sense of belonging and that it can do similarly for other people with disabilities.

“When I first saw the national wheelchair basketball team, I was struck by their speed, skill and competition as well as their love for the game.  Trying it out was the only way I would see whether it would be part of my future or not.  I can remember the pride I felt in myself the first time I took the court in the colours of the national team – as if all my hard work and effort had suddenly come to life.  Participation in sport teaches discipline, commitment, confidence and self-motivation.  It gives you something positive to focus on during tough times and something for you to share with family and friends,” said Zonke.

#Limitless is designed to shine a spotlight on the drive, skill and determination of the powerful and passionate individuals selflessly giving of themselves to benefit the sport of wheelchair basketball and in turn inspire and demonstrate the immense benefits of playing sport.

“Thandile Zonke is a prime example of what #Limitless is all about,” said Sasol Group Brand Marketing Manager Nozipho Mbatha.  “Despite an early setback, he was able to channel his energy into something immensely positive and in the process, illustrate the power sport has to do good.  Our hope is that through showcasing individuals such as Thandile, we can inspire others to follow in similar paths,” she added.

Thandile Zonke is currently a part of the 16-man squad selected to propel South Africa to the 2020 Paralympics and plays for the Wolverines club. Him and his team will next be on display when they head to Durban for another Green v Gold exhibition.

To follow in his steps and find out how to get involved in Wheelchair Basketball contact

To view Thandile Zonke’s #Limitless story, visit Wheelchair Basketball SA on Facebook or Twitter or search #Limitless