Change a Life Academy Media Release  No: CAL1902

 26 Feb 2019

 Embargo: None  Written by: Nick Tatham

Change a Life squad break new ground at 2019 Dusi

Pietermaritzburg – The 2019 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon was an unprecedented success for Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life Academy stars as his charges made up half of the top 30 finishers with Khumbulani Nzimande the best placed in fourth overall.

This was the best ever top thirty return for the Change a Life Academy, led by their ambassador Sbonelo Khwela with a second place finish in the race, which Academy paddlers have traditionally fared well at.

“I was blown away by the results of my Zulus,” academy founder Martin Dreyer said. “Every year they continue to raise the bar and to have 15 paddlers in the top 30 is testament to the hard work they put in during the build up to the race.

“One of our top performers Mthobisi (Cele) had one of those off day races and unfortunately finished in 28th position, while CAL race favourite, Banetse (Nkhoesa) was ill before the race and did well to finish in 12th.

“I did mention before the Dusi that Khumbulani (Nzimande) was the dark horse and great things could be expected of him. But he still surprised us all, with his phenomenal effort, finishing fourth overall. Truly an amazing achievement and has my vote for “Man of the Match (Dusi).”

Nzimande raced in the 2018 K2 Dusi with Stewart Little, however the pair didn’t live up to their potential with Little falling ill during the race. Thus Dreyer was excited to see how the youngster would go against the best in the business in a K1.

“He was a rocket ready to launch!” Dreyer commented.

“In October last year he fractured his arm while cutting wood at home so he had to take time out of training and to his credit he took on the advice of Dr Paul Hatfield and focused on his running during that period.

“I think having to miss out of the popular Fish River Canoe Marathon and watch the guys on Nagle Dam during daily paddle sessions just fuelled the fire and stoked his hunger to do well.

“Crossing the finish line, Khumbulani was on cloud nine and now he puts himself in the front of the queue when it comes to K2 partners for next year!” Dreyer added.

Despite Khumbulani’s performance, the Change a Life Academy had another paddler in the top 10 in Mpilo Zondi.

Zondi had a nerve wracking final day with multiple world marathon champion Hank McGregor breathing down his neck, however he managed to consolidate his tenth position overall.


2. Sbonelo Khwela 8:11:55
4. Khumbulani Nzimande 8:32:21
10. Mpilo Zondi 8:43:35 (U23)2
12. Banetse Nkhoesa 8:52:22
13. Msawenkosi Mtolo 8:52:32 (U23)3
17. Richard Cele 9:07:46
18. Thabani Msiya 9:09:06 (U23)5
19. Lucas Mthalane 9:09:07
20. Sipho Canham 9:09:07
21. Nqobile Makhanya 9:12:07
22. Nhlanhla Cele 9:15:10
24. Mvelo Ngidi 9:16:09 (U23)6
27. Mthobisi Cele 9:21:02 (U23)7
28. Siboniso Shozi 9:21:03.06
29. Siyanda Gwamanda 9:21:03.46 (U23)8
30. Mzamo Zondi 9:21:04


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In what was one of the most impressive results of the 2019 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon, Martin Dreyer's Change a Life Academy star Khumbulani Nzimande finished fourth overall at the iconic three day race. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

It was a stellar performance from Martin Dreyer's Change a Life star Khumbulani Nzimande who finished fourth overall at the 2019 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon. Supplied/
Gameplan Media
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