A disabled surfer from Khayelitsha is making waves, and has recently been awarded the Ministerial Recognition of Excellence Award at the Gsport Awards on Monday, August 31.
Noluthando Makalima (31) was given this top honour at the 15th annual GSport Awards, held to celebrate women athletes who excel in South African sports.
“Until 2006, South African women’s sport had virtually no public profile. The landscape changed in August 2006 with the launch of gsport4girls, an online initiative committed to daily coverage of women’s sport to bridge the gap with men’s sport,” explains the GSport website.
Makalima is an adaptive surfer with cerebral palsy. An adaptive surfer is a surfer with a disability, including but not limited to, paralyses, cerebral palsy, blindness, amputations etc. The sport has been rapidly growing both locally and internationally, and shows people living with disabilities that surfing is a possibility.
Adaptive surfing is recognised at the Olympics and Paralympic Games, and became a big part of South Africa’s disabled community when it was introduced in 2011.
“When I found out I would be receiving the award I was so happy. I didn’t believe that I would win an award,” she told African News Agency.
Earlier in the year, Makalima won a silver medal at the 2020 World Paralympic Championships. She is ranked number 2 in the world in her field.
Other notable winners at the awards include Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis, who retained the title of Coach of the Year after leading Banyana Banyana to their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup and a hat-trick of COSAFA Cup victories. Gymnast Caitlin Rooskrantz was named 2020 Emerging Athlete of the Year after making history by becoming the first South African to win a gold medal for her bar routine at the World Challenge Cup. She will make the country proud at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.