Mukendi Makolo, 18, who is nicknamed Bolt at his school, Plumstead High, recently clocked the 100 metre sprint in just 10.65 seconds, making him the fastest schoolboy in the province.
The Grade 11 pupil recorded this time at a provincial meet at the Dal Josaphat Stadium in Paarl. He has now set his sights on the gold medal at the SASA National High School Championships taking place in Potchefstroom next week.
The current world record for the U19 100m sprint, set in 2014, is 10 seconds flat.
“Today you can run a fast time, tomorrow a slow time; it’s all about consistency. Other athletes might have run a faster time before then,” the charming teen says modestly.
“I wasn’t looking forward to inter-schools as it is always so easy to win.”
He says he is ready to make his school and his province proud.
“I am overwhelmed by this opportunity and wanted to cry (when I won), but I had to compose myself and be strong,” he says.
“My school and peers support me so much, so when I run, it’s to show them that their support and efforts are not in vain but that it drives me.”
Staff and pupils at the school call him Bolt, after the Jamaican sprint king.
His team manager, teacher Coby Stevens, says: “To all the Grade 8s he’s a hero. Teachers are saying learners are writing about him in their essays.”
But Mukendi might not make it to the nationals after all, as he needs funds to travel to Potch.
“The tour is R4 500 and teachers and learners have pledged to donate towards the funds. Mukendi is originally from Congo and is still under refugee status, however, we are trying to assist him with his papers too,” Stevens says.
If you would like to assist Mukendi, contact Verline Leo secretary of the school governing body, on 083 867 6557.