Makwala biography launch next week

Makwala PIC: Morgan Treacy
Makwala PIC: Morgan Treacy

The much-anticipated launch of ‘The Solo Runner, The Untold Story of Isaac Makwala’ is set for Tuesday (December 7) at the Mascom Innovation Centre in Phakalane. The launch was initially scheduled for November but was postponed due to a bereavement in the family.

The guest speaker at the launch is Uyapo Ndadi, managing partner at Ndadi Law Firm. Tshepang Tshube has authored the Makwala biography. Speaking to Mmegi Sport, Tshube said the launch event is strictly by invite and all COVID-19 regulations will be observed. “Some of the guests that they are expecting include Mascom chief executive officer (CEO), Dzene Makhwade-Seboni, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) president, Paphane Botlhale, Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) president, Botsang Tshenyego and the acting chief executive officer (CEO), Wedu Motswetla. Jamaican sprint sensation, Yohan Blake is set to speak virtually at the book launch. Blake has done the foreword. Blake and Makwala trained together at the Racers Track Club in Jamaica in 2011.

According to information reaching this publication, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC), Tumiso Rakgare and his assistant, Honest Buti Billy will not be attending the launch. The book captures Makwala’s journey from his childhood being a herdboy in the village to the world stage.

The 400m athlete's childhood is traced primarily to two settlements, Malelejwe and Tutume. According to excerpts in the book due to be released next month, Makwala grew up with his brothers herding goats and cattle at Malelejwe cattlepost, while his sisters helped their mothers cook and care for the younger siblings. Both boys and girls fetched firewood and water for the family. At the time, Makwala as a 10-year-old boy would walk about three kilometres to fetch water with his siblings.

These chores were done after school, on weekends and during school holidays. "There was nothing extraordinary about this practice because it was a common occurrence across communities in Botswana. At the time, Makwala did not have any thoughts or ambitions of being an elite athlete. "He did not know there were people in the world who earned a living through sports. The few professions at his disposal were being a teacher, a driver or a soldier. Like many boys in his village, his dream was to become a soldier. "The military camouflage uniform and swag inspired Makwala and his childhood boys to favour joining the military," reads an excerpt from the book. Makwala’s life was never on a silver platter. When he reflects, he becomes emotional. At one stage Makwala pondered quitting, especially when he did not do well in junior school.

Makwala told Mmegi Sport in a previous interview that the idea to publish a book was the brainchild of Tshube who is a senior lecturer in the Department of Sport Science at the University of Botswana. “It has been two years since we started discussing publishing this book. Tshube approached my wife about the idea and she consulted me.

But it has been something that I wanted to do after the solo run at the 2017 London World Championships. I was to work on it with some people but the project was not a success,” he said. Back in 2017, Makwala was barred from running the 400m on allegations he had a stomach virus. World Athletics gave him a reprieve and he ran solo in the rain posting 20.53 seconds in the 200m to qualify for the semi-finals. "I had to run alone. It was emotional.

They had set time for me to beat and qualify for the 200m semi-final.

I had missed my main race, the 400m, for which I had gone to compete in,” he said. Makwala said working on the book was difficult because he had to relive the incident. “When I talk about the incident, I become emotional. I am retiring without a World Athletics Championships medal and that time it was an opportunity for me to win a medal. I do not know what would happen at the next World Athletics Championships,” he said. Mascom, Jaguar Land Rover, Shell Botswana, Lamachi Investment, Cresta Hotels and Brand Botswana sponsor the launch.

Editor's Comment
Happy Independence!

We are 56 years old and what do we have to show for it? Looking at where Botswana started and where it is today, there are a lot of developments, but whether the developments match the number of years we have enjoyed as a country is a topic for another day.The fact that cannot be denied is we have seen major developments, but we are still lacking in several pertinent areas.Our beautiful country imports almost everything. We import fuel, food,...

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