Farewell to elite road runner

Vuyolwethu Mbukushe was an elite runner who was no stranger to podium finishes in 10km races.

Tributes continue to pour in for one of Cape Town’s top runners, Vuyolwethu Mbukushe who died after being hit by a car on the R300.

He had been missing for over two months before his body was finally identified by relatives in the mortuary last week.

Mbukushe, 30, was a regular in road running and specialised in 10km races.

Donning the blue and white colours of Atlantic Athletics Club (AAC), he could always be seen in the front, pushing the pace with the rest of the elite runners.

His running coach and AAC development coach, Nelson Tshambo says he will remember Mbukushe as a talented athlete who always showed dedication in his training.

He says he still had lots to offer in running and had ambitions of taking part in the Olympics in the 5000m track event.

“We met when he was still a member of Gugulethu Athletics Club back in 2011 and we started training together.

“I joined AAC development and he also came to the club and was one of the top runners.

“When we met again he wanted me to coach him, not only that he moved in with me in my home in Khayelitsha so I was not only coaching him, I was like a brother and father to him.

“We shared a lot together even though he was a quiet person the two of us communicated very well with each other which is why he was always improving his running.

Tshambo says Mbukushe, having taken part in cross country events and being a regular in 10km races, was improving on his 14.11s personal best in 5000m track.

“He was working towards 13minutes for the 5000m track and then the Olympics was next on his to do list.

“It’s heartbreaking what happened to him, his humble soul will be missed,” said Tshambo.

AAC president Chris Redman said: “When Vuyo was racing he was in his element and it is tragic that this promising career was cut short at its peak.

“Through dedicated guidance from his coach Nelson he was regularly on the winners podium and he was one of the best, most achieving athletes to have run for Atlantic.

“Vuyo will long be remembered by the club and the broader running community.”

Club captain Natasha Berkiwitz said the news of Vuyo’s passing has deeply shaken his AAC family.

“While he was an excellent athlete (awarded the 2019 AAC athlete of the year trophy), what really stood out for me was his kind, warm and gentle nature.

“He wore his AAC kit with pride and set an example for the younger development athletes – who looked up to him. Condolences to his family, friends and clubmates – Vuyo you will be missed.”

Clubmate Gloria Chitedze paid tribute to Mbukushe.

“Grief is the price we pay for love. A strong, loving, humble young friend taken away from us.

Gone too soon champion. What an imprint your footprints left in our hearts.

Like a river, your life went where it must. Left us with a heartache we can never heal but a memory no one can steal. Your valuable legacy will last forever.

“Thank you for choosing to share your gifts with everyone unselfishly for the shortest time you were on earth. May your podiums keep shining in heaven as they did on earth. Till we meet again. Farethee well my friend,” said Chitedze.

Mbukushe will be buried from his home in Crossroads on Saturday.