By Cuma Pantshwa

  • The Department of Social Development celebrated the return of Mr Mokgotsi ‘Kala’ Kalaeamodimo and Mr Maredi ‘Wanda’ Ntsoane, who successfully completed the challenging Comrades Marathon, inspiring their colleagues and community.
  • The event, coordinated by the department’s Health and Wellness Unit, featured speeches that highlighted the remarkable achievements of Kala and Wanda, who shared their experiences and expressed gratitude for the support they received.
  • The celebration underscored the importance of perseverance, camaraderie, and the department’s commitment to promoting health and well-being among its members.

In a scene of jubilation and camaraderie, the Department of Social Development hosted a celebration to honour the triumphant return of Mr Mokgotsi ‘Kala’ Kalaeamodimo and Mr Maredi ‘Wanda’ Ntsoane, who conquered the gruelling Comrades Marathon over the weekend.

Coordinated by the department’s Health and Wellness Unit, officials gathered with high spirits and inspiring speeches. Acting Director-General Mr. Peter Netshipale led the session, extending warm congratulations to the two officials for their remarkable achievement in tackling the challenging ultra-marathon. He emphasised the profound inspiration that Kala and Wanda’s feat imparted to everyone present.

The two gentlemen beamed with pride as they briefly shared their experiences from the race and thanked their supervisors for their support throughout the journey. For Kala, this was his second Comrades run, a tough “up run” which he completed in just under ten hours, in 9h48m11s. Jubilantly, he relayed a story of a painful fall along the way but praised the support and camaraderie of the runners who helped him up and walked with him until he felt fit and strong to continue the solo climb.

With his supportive wife seated by his side, Wanda, possessing a quiet demeanour, shocked most people in the room when he shared that this was his tenth Comrades run. Although he admitted that it was a tough run, he didn’t downplay his accomplishment as he educated the team about the Bill Rowan medal that he proudly displayed around his neck. The Bill Rowan medal is awarded to runners who complete the race in under nine hours.

In her congratulatory address, Deputy Director-General of Welfare Services Ms Siza Magangoe commended the two gentlemen for their inspiring achievement, humorously noting its alignment with the department’s active ageing programme aimed at enhancing the quality of life, health, and well-being of older individuals. Alongside Mr. Netshipale, the Wellness team presented the runners with specially curated wellness packs, dubbed “goodies for recovery.”

This year, a total of 18,884 participants braved the start line in Durban, with Kala and Wanda emerging among the 17,313 runners who crossed the finish line in Pietermaritzburg within the 12-hour cut-off. Their triumph serves as a beacon of inspiration for the DSD family and the broader community, demonstrating that dedication, perseverance, and support can lead to extraordinary achievements in the face of adversity.


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