Change a Life Academy
25 Feb 2015
Written by: Kyle Gilham
Dusi momentum carries Change a Life into 2015 Non Stop Dusi
Pietermaritzburg – The recently concluded 2015 Dusi Canoe Marathon was yet
another major highlight for Martin Dreyer’s Computershare Change a Life
Academy whose paddlers clinched no fewer than three gold medals, claimed 18
of the top 50 silver medal places and occupied four of the six age group podium positions,
and they’re not done yet.
Friday 6 March’s 2015 Non Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon draws near and the
Valley of a Thousand Hills setup is relishing a second opportunity to
impress on the Msundusi and Mngeni Rivers.
Euro Steel/Red Bull’s Sbonelo Khwela powered to third place overall behind
a powerful Andy Birkett and Lance Kime and the Change a Life ambassador was
then joined by fellow Shongweni local Banesti Nkhoesa (seventh) and Inanda
Dam based Mhlonishwa Hlongwane (eighth) inside the top ten.
“It was such a tough three days racing against Lance and Andy,” explained
Khwela. “I am very happy with my third place though and a big thanks to
everyone from Shongweni as well as my sponsors, Euro Steel, Red Bull and
Change a Life!”
Nkhoesa and Hlongwane finished second and third in the hotly contested
Under-23 men’s class as well and have now paired up to form a powerful K2
combination for this year’s Non Stop Dusi.
“Thinking about my seventh position in the Dusi makes me so happy that I
can’t sleep!” enthused an emotional Nkhoesa shortly after crossing the
finish line. “Hard work pays off most of the time and today it did!”
“Thank you to Change a Life for all the support! I could not ask for a
better way to start the year!” he added.
As Nkhoesa, Hlongwane and twelfth place finisher Nqobile Makhanya replaced
the likes of Lucas Mthalane, Richard, Mmeli and Nhlanhla Cele and Kwanda
Mhlope as the academy’s new senior pace-setters, the ‘old-guard’ still put
in impressive performances once again.
The focus in the build-up to this year’s Dusi was however on the next
generation of Change a Life Zulus and Under-17 flyer Mpilo Zondi’s second
place in the junior boys’ clash and 22nd place finish overall has many
excited about the young star’s age group title challenge in 2016 and his
future as a senior competitor.
While Michaelhouse’s Alan Houston claimed the junior boys’ title for 2015,
Zondi’s fellow junior team mate Msawenkosi Mtolo further strengthened the
Change a Life presence on the junior boys’ podium as he made the bottom
step his own while Thabani Msiya made it three out of the top four junior
“We had a big team this year and the guys really pulled things off,” said
former ‘Dusi Duke’ and founder of the academy, Martin Dreyer.
“There were one or two disappointments but for Change a Life paddlers to
contribute 36% of the top 50 is a result far better than I could ever have
“There are a few new faces starting to emerge and it was great to see their
huge efforts paying off at this year’s Dusi!” he added.
The RMB Change a Life mountain bikers were also a familiar sight in the
Msundusi and Mngeni Valleys throughout the Dusi as they helped their
paddling counterparts by using their superior knowledge of the valley and
sublime cycling skills to transport food, water and spares to hard-to-reach
“It was a bonus having my Change a Life mountain bikers at my finger tips for
Dusi!” said Dreyer.
“To get 40 litres of fluids up to the top of Nqumeni Hill portage where
vehicles aren’t allowed to go would have been a major problem had it not
been for their help!”
While next Friday’s ‘Dusi in a day’ may not be as much of a focus for the
Change a Life setup, Nkhoesa and Mhlonishwa will be joined by Sbonelo
Khwela and Sboniso Shozi, both opting to tackle the race in a K1.
“Non Stop is more like the Dusi afterparty and it’s the guys who have done
well and just can’t wait to get back on the river that put their hands up
for this mammoth challenge. We try to support them as best we can but
there certainly isn’t any pressure on anyone to do Non Stop,” explained
The 2015 Non Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from Camps Drift in
Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban on Friday 6 March. More
information can be found at
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – COMPUTERSHARE CHANGE A LIFE ACADEMY
DUSI CANOE MARATHON
7.Banesti Nkhoesa (U23)
8.Mhlonishwa Hlongwane (U23)
12.Nqobile Makhanya (U23)
17.Mthobisi Cele (U23)
21.Mpilo Zondi (U18)
27.Kwanda Mhlope (U23)
29.Sboniso Shozi (U23)
32.Msawenkosi Mtolo (U18)
39.Thabani Msiya (U18)
43.Khumbulani Nzimande (U23)
51.Siyanda Gwamanda (U18)
Under -18 Boys
download the hi-resolution pic
Change a Life
Academy logo - jpeg
Banesti Nkhoesa of Martin
Dreyer's Computershare Change a Life Academy finished seventh overall in
this year's Dusi Canoe Marathon, was the second under-23 across the line
and will now look to team up with team mate and fellow top 10 and under-23
podium finisher Mhlonishwa Hlongwane in the 2015 Non Stop Dusi Canoe
Marathon that takes place on Friday 6 March.
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