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Zanele Situ (1971 - )

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Zanele Situ (1971 - ) Awarded for:
Outstanding achievements during the Sydney Games in 2000 and serving as a role model to all South Africans.

Profile of Zanele Situ

Zanele Situ was born on the 19 January 1971, in Matatiele, Eastern Cape.

She lived with both parents and four other siblings.

In 1982, at the tender age of 12, and while still in standard 4, Situ was injured in an accident to the extent that she lost the use of both her legs and became confined her to a wheelchair. Determined not to be held back by the challenges posed by her disability, she took up athletics in 1985, and turned professional three years later. Zanele Situ achieved the ground breaking feat of becoming the first black South African female athlete to win a Paralympic gold medal at the Sydney Games in 2000.

Competing in a category for athletes with spinal injuries, Situ won the Javelin event with a world record throw that bettered the previous mark by an unprecedented three metres. Situ followed up that achievement with a silver medal in the Discus event.

Zanele Situ stands as an inspiration to all South Africans in our personal and national challenges to overcome setbacks and adversity.