A story of hope

Sharon Mathala
HERO: Makwala
Makwala bares his soul in brilliant biography

On 9 August 2017, as the rain poured down on the London Olympic Stadium, one of the most iconic moments in the history of Athletics was about to play out: Isaac Makwala’s solo run.

Racing against the clock and no-one else in a spectacle never before seen at the World Championships, roared on by a sympathetic English crowd as well as millions glued to their television screens, the Badman ran like the wind to qualify for the semi-finals of the 200m.

Hours later he returned to the track, finishing second in his heat to make it into the final, where, a day later, he would eventually finish sixth.

Four years on, and having announced his imminent retirement from running, the events of that fateful day in London have been brought back into focus as Makwala prepares to launch his biography.

Set for release on 20 November, ‘The Solo Runner: The untold story of Isaac Makwala’ chronicles the life of the Tutume born 400 metres runner.

But before he could launch his life experiences in a book, the 35-year-old sprinter stopped by The Voice offices with the author of his biography, Dr Tshephang Tshube for this interview.

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A story of hope
AUTHOR: Dr Tshube

Tshube, who spent over two years researching and compiling Makwala’s first ever book, tells us of his experience.

“The book obviously gets the title from the solo run that happened in 2017. There are about 13 sections of the book. Each section explains different part of his life. It starts detailing his life from the very beginning all the way to all the coaches he has worked with. It really follows his life up to Tokyo 2020,” the author explains.

“He gives us access to his life, his family. The difficulty was obviously the costs aspect associated with it but it was fun and fulfilling to relive the man’s life,” Tshube further said.

Asked what is the one constant from the interviewees about Makwala, Tshube said, “The thing that really came out, and I believe after reading the book people will feel the same, is of hope. You might know that he did not do well in Form 3 and at that time other kids might want to give up but he went on to try to better his life. After he became a global athlete he faced a lot of challenges because he stood up for himself and that displays a lot of courage in my view.”

Asked if there is a Setswana version of the book, Tshube said, “The book is in English but their parts where for example when I interviewed his father 90 percent of it is in Kalanga so the parts where he speaks in Kalanga and I felt was profound I left it in Kalanga and made a translation to English.”

For his part when asked why he wants to tell his story now, Makwala explained, “Mainly to inspire the coming generation. I want people to learn what I have done, where I come from and what motivated me from young age until today. I want people not to give up; I want to show young people that they can always become something even if they did not do well at school.”

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Would you say the 2017 solo run was a blessing in disguise?

“I would say it is a 50 /50. It elevated me but on the other side I don’t have a world champ medal and that was my time,” admitted Makwala, who, just a month before the 2017 World Championships, had recorded the fastest time in the world that year .

Whilst Makwala did not want to give everything away in this interview asking people to buy the book, looking to the future the athlete said, “My plans after I retire next year is to focus on coaching. I will be going to coaching school and that is what will be keeping me busy in my retirement.”

The book is available on pre sale at P250, a price which will go up after the launch.

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