NO.1: Wayde van Niekerk has given hope to youth

Munier was one of those malletjies who woke up at 2.55am on Monday to watch Wayde van Niekerk run in the men’s 400m final in Rio.

As the Kraaifontein boytjie lined up before the race, Munier was filled with dread.

He’d watched Chad le Clos come second best to Michael Phelps.

The Blitzbokke had slipped up in the Sevens semifinals.

Long jumper Luvo Manyonga missed out on gold by one centimetre.

It was heartbreak after heartbreak.

This just wasn’t Team SA’s year.

But with Wayde, there was more emotion involved.

Knowing the community in Scottsville where he grew up, having read about his mother Odessa Swarts – a record-breaking sprinter in her day who had sacrificed her career prospects in protest against apartheid, there was so much more riding on this race.

When the starter gun went off, Munier thought he was still asleep and dreaming.

Wayde blew everyone away and set a NEW WORLD RECORD.

Like Muhammad Ali, Wayde “shook up the world”.

Munier was jumping up and down, heart bursting with pride.

And as Wayde made his way over to his family to celebrate, Munier could only imagine how his mom must have been feeling.

To see her own forgotten dreams of glory finally fulfilled by her son on the world’s biggest stage.

If your eyes started welling up with tears, you weren't the only one.

Someone needs to make a movie out of this incredible story. Seriously.

Anyway, Munier was buzzing too much to go back to bed, and suffered a huge babalas that day.

The euphoria was spoiled somewhat, however, by the race debate that played out in the media.

The hashtag #coloureds was trending on Twitter as South Africans tried to claim their piece of Wayde.

Should it be regarded as a victory for SA, or for coloured people?

If there is a notion of #blackexcellence, would this be #colouredexcellence?

It got even uglier, where Wayde was compared with Caster Semenya and Chad, and how their success is celebrated in the media.

Mense can be so onnodig!

Here’s Munier’s two cents on the matter:

Wayde hasn’t spoken out on the matter. But if he did, it’s likely he would call himself a South African.

After all, he wears the green and gold proudly and wrapped himself in the SA flag after the race.

But for the sake of this argument, it must be pointed out that while Wayde is a true blue South African hero, he holds an extra special place in the hearts of Cape coloured people.

To see someone from our own communities with his family history and background – achieve what he has achieved, gives us a deeper sense of pride.

And not just as an athlete, but as a humble, spiritual, generous human being.

He has given hope and inspiration to Cape Flats youth who grow up surrounded by crime, gangs, drugs, poverty and unemployment.

Youngsters who desperately need positive role models to help them work towards a better future.

And that’s why Wayde is OUR hero.