Glittering sunlight beckons at the end of the cobalt tunnel. Glide across the water’s
surface, dance with the sway of the board, and feel the rush of the wave collapsing.
Surfing is one of the most thrilling ways to experience the ocean. But it’s expensive. The
cost of the sport, from lessons to surfboards and wetsuits, keeps many people onshore.
Luckily, nine-year-old Will Ronquest-Ross is helping other kids catch their big break.
Ronquest-Ross comes from a family of passionate surfers, which is how he began
navigating the waves at the age of five. Wanting to share this phenomena with friends,
he went door-to-door in Hout Bay asking children to join.
That’s when he realised that even those living in close proximity to the beach were
unable to afford the magic of surf. So began his quest for equality. Ronquest-Ross
started a BackaBuddy campaign, which raised enough money for him to give others an
opportunity to learn.
Coached by the Cape Town School of Surfing, Ronquest-Ross practises with kids from
Imizamo Yethu. His proudest moment has been hearing his friends speak excitedly
about their first time riding a wave. By sharing what he loves, Ronquest-Ross is making
surfing an accessible sport for all.
Shoneez Ganie had a difficult pregnancy. Her son, Yazdaan Ally, was born prematurely
and doctors didn’t give him long to live. But Ally survived. At the age of six, he was
diagnosed with autism. Not understanding the neurobehavioral condition, his mother
struggled at first.After extensive research, she learnt how to stand alongside Ally as he
creatively conquers life.
Children with autism may experience a range of challenges. In Ally’s case, he battles
with writing, speaking, and muscle coordination. With his mother’s encouragement,
Ally uses art as a form of release and expression. Ally’s colourful pictures depict sunny
days, soccer games, and even include an impressive portrayal of Bigfoot.
These illustrations allow Ally’s mother to understand his world. Together with the right
knowledge and tools, she’s helping him excel. With faith, determination, and
unconditional love, they’re demonstrating that the idea of normal is only relative.
Things were looking up for Nelisiwe Zuma. The Durbanite had just been offered a job in
California. Unable to contain her excitement, Zuma joined her friends to celebrate her
big break. But on her way home, their car flew off the road. Zuma woke up three weeks
after the crash in ICU. Her friend who’d been driving didn’t make it. The emotional and
physical trauma seemed insurmountable.
In the months that followed, Zuma had to undergo multiple surgeries, including a spinal
fusion and a skin graft on her stomach. She was also dependent on a colostomy bag. As
her body changed, Zuma became increasingly depressed. But in the process of
recuperating, she began to realise how incredible it was to have survived. Her scars
were a symbol of life, a reminder to cherish her body and her second chance.
Today, Zuma advocates for people to accept themselves, blemishes and all. She models
with her scars on show, an image of resilience. With her site, Madame Blogger, Zuma
offers an honest account of her experiences and creates a space for others to share
theirs. While she still has bad days, Zuma is embracing her path of healing. Along this
journey, she’s found a greater purpose.
Lookout Sibanda is a man of few words. Instead, he prefers to craft his expression
through art. Sibanda’s creative flair sparked in high school when his friends taught him
to paint. So when he couldn’t afford to study after matric, he chose to pursue his
passion by decorating ceramics with brushes of colour. But adding the final touches
wasn’t enough. Sibanda felt compelled to learn pottery from inception.
Working for established ceramists Elza van Dijk and Nicole Kingston exposed Sibanda
to their techniques. Even without formal classes, he learnt to produce pots, bowls, and
plates. Soon, Sibanda started promoting his wares at markets and exhibitions in Port
Elizabeth, building a reputation under the name Lookout Ceramics. Today, Sibanda
holds success in the palm of his hand. His signature work features abstract and
geometric patterns, with vivid colours inspired by the blankets his grandmother used to
In 2018, knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo chose to mentor Sibanda as a result of his
talent. Despite his accomplishments, Sibanda is conscious of the challenging course it’s
taken for him to get here. That’s why he hopes to share his skills by tutoring potential
students.For this potter, passion is the tool to triumph.
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