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05 June 2019 | Story Ruan Bruwer
Louzanne Coetzee
Athlete Louzanne Coetzee with the trophy of the Free State Sports Association for the Physically Disabled as Sports Star of the Year.

Although challenging, very exciting and a new journey, says Louzanne Coetzee about the athletics year for which she has been recognised.

The 26-year-old, who is doing her master’s in Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Studies at the University of the Free State, won the Free State Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (FSSAPD) Sports Star of the Year award for a fourth consecutive time. This was for the period June 2018 to April 2019.

In that time, she set a world record, an Africa record, and ran two marathons in which she came amazingly close to a second world record.

Only in her second marathon at the Berlin Marathon in September, the Paralympian fell 26 seconds short of the T11 (totally blind) world record time. She met the qualifying time for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo during the London Marathon in April.

“Marathons are definitely challenging and a new field for me, but I would say it has been a good 12 months. My aim is now set on next year’s Paralympic Games, where I would like to compete in the marathon and the 1 500 m.”

“I hope to run a good time in the 1 500 m at the World Para Athletics Championships in November.”

At the SASAPD National Championships for physically disabled and visually impaired athletes in April 2019, Coetzee won three gold medals and set a record in the 1 500 m. 

Others from the UFS also honoured

Coetzee has received several awards in her career, but says it is always special to be rewarded by her own federation (FSSAPD). 

Danie Breitenbach (T11) was also honoured as the Senior Male Sports Star. He bagged two gold medals and one silver and set a SA record in both the 800 m and 1 500 m at the nationals. Another Kovsie, Dineo Mokhosoa (F36 – coordination impairments), received a merit award for her gold medal in shot-put and silver in the discus at the national champs.

News Archive

Researcher transforms despair into diamonds
2016-01-18

PhD candidate, Lerato Machetela and some members of the group Diamonds in the Rough having some fun between rehearsals.

Awash in hopelessness, substance abuse, violence, and sexual promiscuity. This is the lived reality of the youth in Jagersfontein. But now Lerato Machetela is using her research to change it.

As a PhD candidate in Trauma, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS), Machetela assembled a group of 14 young men – ranging between the ages of 9 and 18 – who call themselves Jagersfontein’s Diamonds in the Rough. Combining elements from psychology, education, and entertainment, Machetela has established a platform that grounds these young ones adrift in circumstances. By means of song and dance, these young ones have become grounded through creativity.

While discussing what it means to be free in the new South Africa, Machetela asked the group to come up with a song similar to the struggle song, ‘Nelson Mandela usi litheli ixolo’.

Jagersfontein’s Diamonds in the Rough Researcher, Lerato Machetela, combines psychology, education, and entertainment to ground local youths through creativity.

The result: He’s a teenager, but he drinks Hansa.

“This then developed into a dance routine depicting what the youth is doing with their freedom,” Machetela says. With each beat of their boots and rhythmic clap of their hands, the group illustrates the ways in which the youth has constructed – and come to understand – their daily realities. “The routine includes the expression of alcohol and drug abuse, and ends of with the importance of education.”

Through the creative expressions of Diamonds in the Rough, Machetela is able not only to explore the reality of the youth in Jagersfontein, but also to investigate intergenerational trauma. “I am looking at whether there is a relationship between these young people’s current circumstances and the experiences of their parents’ generation during the apartheid years. That is, what sort of meanings do they construct as young, black South Africans growing up in the new South Africa?”

What started off as a research project is now rippling beyond academic spheres, though. The Free State Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation has taken note of this initiative. As a result, the group has already performed at the Bloem Show, International Museums Day, and Heritage Day celebrations, as well as at the Mangaung African Cultural Festival (MACUFE).  

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