Sibusiso Sizatu, who was born in Qumbu and grew up in Masiphumelele near Fishoek in Cape Town, hopes to inspire underprivileged children to pursue careers in sailing and watersports.
Sizatu will be the skipper of the yacht ArchAngel in the Cape to Rio yacht race, which begins on Monday (2 January). In the 6 000-kilometer race, he will be joined by five other crew members, four men and one woman.
A young Sibusiso grew up in Qumbu in the Eastern Cape and never thought he would one day join and lead a South African team in an elite water sport. He left his home village at the age of 10 and moved to Masiphumelele in Cape Town with his family before being introduced to sailing by a friend at the age of 16.
Sizatu says he only took the sport seriously two years later.
“First thing I experienced was getting seasick and the boat was getting deeper and deeper into the ocean. I mean back in the eastern cape you can just throw a rock to see how deep is the dam but in the ocean, you see how deep the ocean is. That alone gave me a fear of going further in.”
The sport is expensive and the team received a sponsorship six months ago. Sizatu, a former herdsman, says he’s been eying the competition since 2018.
“We are hoping to take 23 days if we want a chance of winning but anything can happen. It’s about 3 300 nautical miles. In kilometers, it is about 6 000. Even before we got the sponsor we have been training when i joined in 2018 top of the list was Cape to Rio because we have kids that are from the marine industry we have to introduce them to deep sailing but we have been struggling for funding.”
Sizatu says his long-time dream is to see more people of colour in the sport.