(08 March 2011)
It’s been a while since we posted an update on Sipho’s recovery. Sipho is making slow progress and the only news at this stage is that he is off sedation and breathing on his own and the family hopes that it can only get better from here.
We will let you know once he is moved to a general ward.
I trust that everyone appreciates the fact that as a club we have to balance the need to inform all in the running fraternity about Sipho’s condition while equally respecting his privacy and that of his family. Our approach has always been to be as judicious as possible about what we share whilst providing news about his state.
I know I have said this before, but our club is really humbled by well meaning messages and the support shown to a fellow runner. We believe that Sipho’s ordeal and those of others- a few years ago a car mowed down runners on Field’s Hill during a race, I just forget the name of the event- will galvanise us into action and force us to have discussions on how to improve risk management at our races.
Trust me I am not casting any aspersions here but feel that as a sport that finds itself in a milieu of country bedevilled by lawlessness and aggressive driving habits, this discourse needs to happen sooner rather than later. We are aware of the shocking number of cyclist who die on our roads each year, approximately four thousand, our roads are not safe at all.
Once more thank you to all who continue to inquire about Sipho’s condition. Kim Pain from Bedfordview Athletics and I exchange emails and have spoken a few times on the phone, Khanyi Chama from Manoni has been a constant source of inspiration for her ability to put people together around such an important cause.
It is that time of the year when runners are piling on the mileage and taking part either long runs or ultra marathons, please take extra care on the roads and be safe.
From us at Soweto Cabal we wish all of you safety on the road, health and fitness in your running.
Balebetse ‘Rio’ Matlhaku
(18 Feb 2011)
Since our last update on Sipho Mlangeni’s condition I spoke to his brother Fana this morning who was very upbeat. He says Sipho is off the life support machine and is likely to be moved from the ICU to a general ward either today or tomorrow. He is moving his hands and feet and has opened his eyes. The family has been asked to give him time to rest as much as possible.
Messages below will indicate how the running fraternity has rallied behind Sipho and the drive to pray for him to get well. Khanyi sent me the messages last night. I could not hold back the tears! We are blessed to be surrounded by so much love and goodwill. Like Lowell Alexander’s song “You Will Never Walk Alone”, made popular as a rallying cry by Liverpool fans, we as a club have fellow travellers during this difficult time and we thank God for it. I went running this morning and just a few hundred metres a car stopped and Boycie Mbha from Zonkizizwe inquired about Sipho and said he has been praying for him. Thanks a lot Bra Boycie!
If there is any lesson in this whole saga and tragedy, it is that we have a lot more in common that we acknowledge. For most of us running is a metaphor for our lives. Through the sport we become adventurers. We walk in the shoes of Edmund Hillary and Tenzin Norgay- first pair to climb Mount Everest. In our own little way we become like our own Lewis Pugh and Mike Horner, whose exploits in the world of adventure is legendary.
We might not run like Ryan Sandes, Bruce Fordyce or Zithulele Singqe, but a few minutes shaved at Comrades or a local half marathon is cause for celebration. In running we search for inner strength, the art of patience and a bloody mindedness that makes us take that most arduous journeys from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. The search for good health and fitness stems from being overweight, battles with diabetes, our battles with cancer and the many other problems that a good dose of endorphins in our system can help alleviate. We test our ability to be disciplined, push ourselves to run at five or six minutes a kilometre. Of course some of us are not built to run 3:30 a kilometre effortlessly- we don’t envy those who do, we just think they are losers! Real MANNE should have some flesh, and a little boep on them, not look like hounds.
I took the time to check Sipho’s Comrades results for the last few years. The last two years are instructive, in 2009, Sipho ran 11h15. Last year he came home in 10h30. Those of you who have run Comrades know that a 45 minute improvement in one year speaks of commitment, hard work and dedication. As we continue to pray for Sipho and any other sportsperson who has been injured whilst participating in an event or out training, we should remind ourselves that we belong to a special brotherhood. The messages below attest to this.
For all our members at Soweto Cabal, the amount of goodwill and brotherly love shown to Sipho and us as a ‘family’ has been overwhelming. We should not squander this opportunity to build bridges and make sure that through the sport we grow the goodwill and become agents for that which is good and positive. To paraphrase a quote from Mohandas Ghandi “ Let us be the change we want to see in the world”.
Scottish Himalayan Adventurer, H W Murray said : ‘Boldness has genius, power and magic in it, begin it now!
Balebetse ‘Rio’ Matlhaku
(15 Feb 2011)
An update on the condition of Sipho Mlangeni is that he is still serious but slightly improving. Members have decided that on Sunday, February 20 we run the Pirates Marathon in sympathy for him and show fellow runners that we have Sipho and his family in our thoughts and prayers.
As part of the Soweto Cabal family, we would like him to make a speedy recovery to join us in our weekly sojourn as we tackle races in and around Gauteng.
In the same breadth, Soweto Cabal would like to thank all runners from across the country- I have received calls from as far as Cape Town- inquiring about Sipho’s condition and wishing him a speedy recovery. We truly thank you this.
As we line up for Pirates on Sunday morning our thoughts will be with Sipho and his family. I know that his running group consisting of Dutch, Veli, The General and others must have missed his presence dearly on their weekly Tuesday afternoon run.
So do join us on Sunday as we tackle the tough Pirates as a team.
See you all on Sunday.
Balebetse ‘Rio’ Matlhaku
Messages for Sipho
Letter of support from Dr S M Dhlomo,MEC for Health KZN
Letter from Lesedi AC
First we appreciate the effort you are making of getting runners communicating outside running events in our shorts in the mornings of every weekend. Please don’t ever get tired and should you need further assistance, do not hesitate to call.
We at the Lesedi A.C are terribly saddened by what happened to Sipho and to the running family as a whole. One always thinks that runners are much safer especially during races, but the Sipho incident has left us speechless. No amount of words can express the way we feel.
We hope that one day Sipho will be back on the road, doing what we always love to do every morning on weekends.
Lesedi Athletics Club
“There is nothing quite like running. Through the sport one has the opportunity to escape from the rest of the world for just a few moments, out there on the road although you may be surrounded by hundreds of fellow runners you soon realise that you face the road alone. It’s in these moments as the pain of the journey begins to make its way through every fibre of your being that you come face to face with yourself, your true self and it’s only then, once you’ve faced yourself that you begin to realise that in fact you do not run alone. There is One who runs with you, in fact He’s wanting to carry you, He’s been through far worse, He’s experienced pain way beyond the physical realm of our human bodies, in that moment if you acknowledge Him, He’ll make His love for you known and embrace you and carry far beyond anything you ever dreamed possible.
Sipho, you have been robbed (for the moment) of that spiritual journey called running, but know that Jesus is with you, He loves you and He cares for you and one day, we do not know when, but one day, revenge will be His. So for now, let Him be your strength and your guide and hold onto to every ounce of faith within you, “We know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
To the Soweto Cabal running club, be strong in this tough time. One can only imagine the emotions of anger and hatred rushing through your veins as you dress for each run. But this is an opportunity to pull together as a club, this is an opportunity to support not only Sipho but each other. Far too often we take each other for granted and we just assume each of us will be there tomorrow as we meet for our daily run. Running clubs are a treasure and as you journey out together on your next run, keep Sipho close in your hearts and minds and prayers, but do the same for each other.
May God bless you in amazing ways Sipho and may He heal you and restore you according to His greater plan for your life.
Message of support to Soweto Cabal
As RAINBOW ATHLETIC CLUB, from this side of town, we want you to know that we share your pain following the tragic accident that came the way of Sipho Mlangeni. We have been following the events since the accident happened, and are relieved to hear that he is slowly recovering. With all the prayers and positive thoughts from the running fraternity, we wish he recovers quickly and fully to join us again soon, in the sport we love so much.
It is such a comfort to know that as runners we sincerely care for each other, and the present Sparara Captaincy and leadership is unparalleled.
Sisonke, Sizawa sivuke sonke, izigelekeqe zosha esihogeni !!
See you all at Pirates 21!
John Mngadi (Rainbow Secretary)
Dear Soweto Cabal,
Our message of condolences on our tragic accident that befell Sipho Mlangeni on Sunday, 13th February 2011 at the Pick ‘n Pay race. We wish him a speedy recovery in this trying moments and also wish Soweto Cabal that a moment like this should bring you closer together as a club. Please don’t feel that you are alone in this tragic event, for us we are a part of a bigger running community. For me personally I was deeply affected because he passed me around 32/33km mark and the next moment I saw him he was lying unconscious on the ground, when I saw the amount of blood he had lost I left I feared for the worst. So when the announcer indicated he was in a stable condition it was a relief in some way. We put our faith and trust in God that Sipho will eventually recover fully and he will get to complete 10 or 20 Comrades.
We are looking forward to hosting the ‘Get Well Sipho Bus’ at the Manoni water point right on top of King of the Mountains!
Soweto Cabal and Friends
Wow it is amazing to absorb the support from members of this, our unique community.
Thank you guys for the support and prayers for Sipho and Soweto Cabal. You’re an inspiration.
Indeed we continue to pray for Sipho and members of his immediate family to be strong and patient at this time.
We pray god will restore Sipho to full health and enable him to return to one of his most favourite places in the world, the road in shorts, a t shirt and takkies overcoming the pain and distance, emerging truimphant at the end of each run.
Sisonke.. Sharp Sharp
Thank you and all your members at Manoni for your kind words and concern about Sipho’s state. We do try and update our website on Sipho’s progress, suffice to say we cannot share all the details as his condition is still precarious.
Personally I have been heartened and humbled by the response from the running community. The Jeppe Qoundam secretary has been calling me on a daily basis as well as Kirsten Van Achie from the Star who wrote the story in the Monday edition.
Thanks Khanyi once more, hopefully we will have some news by the end of today…all I can say is that Sipho is currently doing his ‘inner Comrades Marathon’, we will share at an appropriate time.
Our club is having a ‘Sipho Get Well’’ bus at Pirates on Sunday, runners are free to join us. Be warned though it will be super slow… as I am running in the bus J. Our url is www.sowetocabal.co.za
Rio- on behalf of Soweto Cabal Athletic Club
Please note the following important item:
- Many of you who ran Pick and Pay today will be aware of an accident that befell one of our running friends, Sipho Mlangeni of Soweto Cabal. Sadly, Sipho was hit by a taxi after the 36km mark. He is currently unconscious at ICU with a head injury. Please pray for him. My own race ended at that spot, as he is somebody I know very well and it was traumatic to see him in that state. I simply could not leave him let alone run anymore. Many thanks though to ntate Selebi and the Manoni bus for a great race until there for me.
Much love, Khanyi
From Zonkizizwe A.C. our prayers are with him and his family.
I am pleased to let you know that Sipho is recovering well! Modimo olerato! He will be moved from the life-supporting machine today. He has also regained his consciousness although still highly sedated. Many thanks for your calls, messages and prayers. I will make sure that he gets them.
Much love, K
Thanks for being the glue that keeps Spararas going. I am humbled by your love for all of us. I am glad you were there to help when Sipho met this tragedy. What happened to Sipho was tragic and one prays that he will recover fully and that God will protect us from these disasters. I am glad to hear that he is recovering.
To all the Spararas, let us put our faith in God and know that with Him nothing is impossible. His promises are there for us to tap into as and when we desire to:
Psalm 91: 9 – 16
If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Regards and God be with you all Spararas
Dr Elijah Nkosi
Ma Chaba thanks sisi for being the loving and caring person you are! You are the real glue that keep the Sparara family intact. We will certainly pray for Sipho, and I believe God being good, he will recover fully. We must all just stay in faith and trust Him on this challenge.
Keep well girls and bots, we will meet on the road!!
Love you all so much!