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Sport - Date: 24 March 2022
Written by: Thembi Siaga / Viewed: 1605
Twenty-three-year-old Pfano Ungedzani from Tshidzini village near Thohoyandou is breathing a long sigh of relief. Last month, the talented long- and short-distance runner was signed by Tuks Athletics Club to compete under their banner in the 800m U/23 category. The problem was that Pfano still had no sponsor to help him cover all the costs involved with being a full-time athlete. Luckily, a new sponsor stepped to the fore, which means that Pfano can now concentrate on what he does best – to run.
Traderoot Active, an impact-investment project led by Traderoot Technologies, saved the day for the young athlete. Traderoot Active enables and encourages participation in sporting events and activities, and raises funds for recognised organisations that support and sustain sports development and children’s education. Pfano was selected as the company’s first sponsorship recipient for 2022.
This did not come easily for him, though. Pfano took a full two years to find a sponsor. “I tried interviews on radio stations like Phalaphala FM and Univen FM, but with no success. I even tried to ask for assistance from local businesspeople, but no-one would help me,” he said. Yet, despite many stumbling blocks in his way, Pfano refused to give up on his dreams.
He reached out to Traderoot Active through their social-media channels and was invited to Cape Town for an evaluation process. “I was surprised when I received their invitation to Cape Town. Upon my arrival, they bought me running shoes and training sneakers. After two weeks, I was gifted with a complete running kit. I am very excited to find myself under Traderoot Active, as they are helping me to fulfil my dreams,” he said.
“While I’m running the 800m, 50km, 32km, 10km, and 5km, I push myself to get to the top three or top 10 positions. My wish is to put Traderoot Active and Venda on the map. I also want to find myself running international races.”
Pfano was met by the company’s programme director, Mr Brett Dungan, who gave him a warm welcome. “After meeting up and getting to understand Pfano’s basic needs as a runner, we came to the agreement to work together, in order to achieve the goals that would benefit everyone in moving forward,” Dungan said.
According to him, Pfano is proactive in seeking out their products. “He struck me as a go-getter with passion and dreams. We felt that the brand and his talents would be an amazing fit. The expectation is simply that he has the ability to reach his goals and fulfil his dreams.”
Traderoot Active's programme director, Mr Brett Dungan (left) congratulates Pfano Ungedzani (right) from Tshidzini village on his sponsorship with the company. Pfano is now officially an active member of the Tuks Athletics Club. Photo supplied.
Thembi Siaga worked as an intern during 2021. He assisted with video photography and editing. He also produced numerous small documentaries, focusing on the Vhembe region and its people.