Top stick fighting star is born

Eastern Cape’s Asanda Swelindawo of Dutywa has been crowned the first lady of stick fighting in the country after she beat three opponents representing their respective provinces at the 12th edition of the National Indigenous Games Festival.

GIVING IT STICK: Eastern Cape’s Asanda Swelindawo goes blow for blow with Limpopo’s Dineo Monyepao during the 12th edition of the National Indigenous Games Festival in Polokwane

Swelindawo and Maliwa Khanyile were among the 128 Eastern Cape participants that provincial Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture department (DSRAC) took to the festival which started on Sunday and is due to conclude today at the Sheshegu Stadium in Polokwane.

Swelindawo, 22, from Dutywa was crowned the best female stick fighter at the festival after she won three games. She described the experience as a thrilling one.

The first game she played against Limpopo she won 5-4, then she won
6-5 against Free State and the last game she played against KwaZulu-Natal she won 5-3.

“Mr Nonina from our village taught me stick fighting and at first I didn’t like the sport because it was hard and since it’s a boys’ sport I was having trouble mastering it.

“But then I started getting the hang of it and my love for the sport started to grow.”

Swelindawo said she had been selected last year to attend the festival but she declined because she felt she was not ready to play on the national stage.

“This year I saw that I was fit to compete with other stick fighters so I honoured the invitation and I am glad I did because I really enjoyed myself here and come next year I will be here again to defend my title.”

Khanyile, 26, who plays puca – a traditional game popularly played by Xhosa girls – won seven of eight games where he scored 50 points out of 50 in all the games he won.

“I only lost one game and it was lack of concentration that cost me. This game was formerly played by women but as times changed men got into it as well.

“I am very passionate about puca and I want to be the best puca player the country has seen.”

The province is out of the race in DrieStokkies. Yesterday they started with two players out of three in the semifinals after Babalwa Koli was disqualified after she touched the designated line while jumping for qualifying distance of 9.75. Dellarise Christian fell on 9.68 due to injury to take the province out of the competition.

In Mrabaraba the province lost to Mpumalanga 15.5 to 20.5.

In the game of ncuva against North West the males lost 12 to 15 and the females lost three to 24.

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