After ten months of anticipation and having never sailed before training for the race, South Africans Siphamandla ‘Superman’ Ngcobo (23) and Sakhile ‘King’ Makhanya (22) are now racing more than 3,000 nautical miles across the North Atlantic on board IchorCoal in Race 12: The LegenDerry Finale towards Derry-Londonderry, NI.
Representing the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation, the opportunity provides the two ambassadors with new personal development skills that they can give back into their local communities and use to inspire others.
“I am the first youngster in the family to leave the country and represent our community. I am representing a lot of people and I feel great to be here. It’s a lifetime achievement - not a lot of people cross oceans. The community support in South Africa has been amazing, I have never had that before.
“I have learnt a lot about responsibility,” says Siphamandla from Durban, who is currently doing an internship in Civil Engineering. He has a desire to open a construction company that will create employment for young people who drop out of school.
He says: “Young people from my community don’t have a future but I believe I can be a source of change for my community; creating employment will keep them away from drugs and crime.
“My motivation to work in the Engineering industry and own a company one day is through my mom and dad. My dad motivated me with what I saw with his company when he still had one. He got the community together and opened job opportunities for people. So I also want to help someone by granting them with a job in my community. It is hard but with hard work and determination, I think I can make it.
“I’m hoping to learn a lot on the race but most importantly, find a character in me that I do not know about and learn to be able to deal with situations in the moment. In one way or another, the race will impact me a lot in future.”
Siphamandla is joined by fellow ambassador Sakhile. Initially a reserve for the 8-strong Sapinda Rainbow tag team, he became the recipient of a new bursary set up in the memory of IchorCoal crew member Andrew Ashman to be able to participate in Leg 8.
“This is an experience I will never forget in my life, sailing oceans and visiting countries around the world, I will be talking about it forever. Firstly I want to thank the family of Andy Ashman, the Clipper Race and Sapinda Rainbow Foundation, but particularly to the Ashman family for giving me the opportunity to take his place on the boat. It is wonderful but hurtful sometimes because something very sad has happened to allow me to get on board. I take this responsibility for myself and the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation family and for everyone to get the most out of the experience.
“I want to put all of my heart in the boat and my focus on the team and teamwork. I am a team player and I am going to give it my all,” says Sakhile, from Mtubatuba who was raised by his grandfather with his siblings. When his grandfather passed he took responsibility of managing the family tractor to continue to put food on the table.
He says: “I am looking forward to the sense of achievement of completing the race, it is something that can never be taken away from me and will make me aware of what I am capable of and what I can achieve. My family are really happy I am doing this and the opportunity I have been given, they have congratulated me and wish me the best.
“I enjoy all the roles on board and want to try and do a little bit of everything if I can, however a frustrating thing for me is the cooking on board. I never cooked before training for the race, when I am at home my sister always cooks for us so it has been a learning curve, I never thought that an opportunity to learn to sail would also be the opportunity to learn how to cook!”
In addition to representing their communities and racing the world’s oceans, the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation ambassadors are helping to raise awareness and funding for innovative research into the long term effects of HIV treatment by the Ndlovu Care Group in Limpopo, South Africa, where one in five of the population is infected with the virus.
Race 12: The LegenDerry
Finale is estimated to arrive in the
Northern Irish city of Derry-Londonderry between 7-11 July.
To find out more about the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation, click here.