Teenage South African rides from slum township to London-Paris
17-year-old South African Nicholas Dlamini has so impressed HotChillee, organisers of London-Paris, that they’re flying him over for this year’s event which runs from 20-23 June.
Dlamini started cycling at the age of 12 and has won almost every race he’s entered, including most recently South Africa’s Western Province junior road race championships. He’s proved his talent and dedication despite the adversity of his background, living in Khayelitsha which is South Africa’s largest and fastest-growing township, located on the edge of Cape Town.
In Khayelitsha over 40 percent of the population are under 19. While the township does have some brick-built houses and schools, its slum areas are rapidly expanding, and 70 percent of residents live in shacks erected in unplanned conditions with limited direct access to water. The slums were the scene on 1 January this year for one of the worst ever fires in Cape Town’s history, leading to 700 families losing everything. Add to this a national picture in South Africa of 50 percent youth unemployment, and Dlamini’s rise from adversity is all the more inspirational.
Dlamini has been mentored by JAG Foundation, a charity partner for HotChillee’s Cape Rouleur. He was then selected for the Cape Rouleur Development Rider Programme which sees the sponsorship of local, young and talented disadvantaged riders. The young South African will be riding The London-Paris for Wattbike, which is sponsoring his entry.
Stephen Roche, 1987 Triple Crown Winner and HotChillee ambassador, said: “Nicholas did exceptionally well during the Cape Rouleur and it’ll be great to ride with him again. This is a real opportunity for him to experience riding in a European context and to mix with influencers in the cycling industry. I think he’s got a very bright future ahead of him.”