SKATING AWAY FROM THE STREETS-TOWARDS THE WAVES
By: Zilungile Mnisi
The odds did not limit this 19-year-old street kid.
Living in the streets did not stop William Zondi from expressing himself. Born and bred in Stanger, Zondi lost his parents at a tender age, leaving him with his older brother. He only stayed at home for a limited period of time after his parents passing.
“I left home because my bigger brother wanted to sell the house, so I left home,” said Zondi.
He surfs and skates by South Beach, Durban. He occasionally lives in a shelter near Morningside where he fends for himself. Through surfing and skating by the beach almost every day, he is friends with almost everyone.
There are people who offer him food during his stay at the beach.
“At first, they did not even trust me. They thought I was only hanging around the beach because I wanted to rob people, so they used to chase me away,” said Zondi.
All those stereotypical perceptions of him changed when they saw him at the skate park showing off his talent.
“Some lady walked up to me and started a conversation. I told her my story and she was amazed,” he said.
He later showed his skills on the waves and got tongues wagging.
People could not believe how a dodgy-looking guy like him could be so talented. He describes the beach as his “holiday home” as the garage he sometimes lives in is not an ideal place for an ambitious guy like him. He describes it as noisy and busy place where he always hears gunshots and it is surrounded by prostitutes and drug dealers.
Having two skills, one has to have a favourite one and Zondi loves surfing more than skating and would like to pursue it professionally.
“Skating, I just skate for fun and to pass time with my friends, but I want to be a professional surfer,” Zondi said.
He was previously under a sponsorship, which offered him a travelling opportunity. He has travelled to Los Angeles, Brazil and was even personally sponsored by the queen of England to go to England. He unfortunately lost that sponsor and hasn’t travelled out of South Africa or even entered any surfing competition in the past three years.
“I just appreciate what people can offer me at the moment and as much as I would love to travel again, I am grateful for all I have,” he said.
William has big dreams and he sees his future as the brightest of them all.
“I know that if I carry on with the attitude that I have and showcase my skill more, someone will identify me and I will finally be a professional surfer,” he said.
William Zondi surely is skating away from the streets all the way to the waves, where a brighter future lies.