Sir Robin to mentor young South African with ambition to become first black Clipper Race skipper

17 December 2014

22 year old South African Nqoba Mswazi, who participated in the tough Pacific Ocean leg of the Clipper Race earlier this year with the Sapinda Rainbow project, has revealed a challenging ambition to return to the race as its first black skipper.

In January Nqoba will embark on his Yachtmaster qualification and will have none other than Sir Robin Knox-Johnston as his mentor as he takes the first steps to realise his dream of circumnavigating the globe at the helm of a Clipper 70.

He is being supported by the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation which was established to continue the project and help its participants to realise their full potential following their Clipper 2013-14 Race experience. Sir Robin sits on the Foundation’s advisory board and is looking forward to following Nqoba’s progress.

“The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation is making a real difference to young people’s lives in South Africa and I’m very pleased to support its work and in particular to be a mentor to Nqoba. It would be fantastic to see him progress to the point where he could become a skipper in a future Clipper Race.”

In 2008 Nqoba got involved with Sail Africa, a Durban based charity teaching sailing to young people from challenging backgrounds, set up by former Clipper Race skipper Craig Miller. He soon discovered he had a great passion for sailing and has focused all his energy and resolve in forging a path for himself in sailing. He was nominated for the Sapinda Rainbow Clipper Race project by Sail Africa.

“Nqoba's true character started to emerge and even though he was shy and quietly spoken, his true steely determination to succeed as a crew member became evident,” said Dirk Van Daele, chairman of the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation.

“He was prepared to do the hardest tasks and declared he would accept the most difficult job on the bow and he got nicknamed Bowman. He is very determined and I am sure he will be successful. I am delighted that we can continue to help him on his journey.”

Nqoba has recently been named Sailor of the Year by the Royal Natal Yacht Club and is currently working as an instructor at Sail Africa teaching other youngsters to learn to sail; he is also involved in recruiting the Sapinda Rainbow participants for the 2015-16 race.

Nqoba starts his Yachtmaster course in January in Hout Bay, South Africa and you can help the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation support him with a small donation.

“Following the incredible support and the amazing response to our first Sapinda Rainbow follow-on project SBU goes back to school, we would like to call on our community to help Nqoba via our web site as he aims to fulfil his vocation to become a skipper and instructor for the Clipper Race.

“I also hope we can change the perception of sailing in South Africa as a predominantly white man’s sport. I am sure Nqoba will become a great inspiration and role model to other young people in Durban and beyond,” added Mr Van Daele.

You can support Nqoba here:

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