Posted by: Nicky Verd Comments: 0

This is the amazing story of Zama as never been told by the media before. I first heard the story of Zama on the news last year. So, when I’d plan to embark on this project of #EmpoweringAfricans by sharing African inspiring and success stories, I decided to track down Zama and thanks to social media I got hold of him…and he told me his amazing story. 

At only 6years old, Zama Xolani Mofokeng was knock down by a car. Although he survived with no notable physical injuries but the accident left him with a head injury that haunted him till adulthood. He would get dizzy spells from hell. The seizures and sudden bursts of electrical activity in his brain affected his normal life drastically. The family had no idea what to make of his symptoms at the time. They sought for all types of solutions to his predicament – spiritually, traditionally and medically. At long last doctors diagnosed him with Epilepsy. The family was relieved to know what was wrong with their son but it was only the beginning of a long difficult journey for Zama and his family.

He was put on medication to help control the Epilepsy but the medication actually made his situation even worst. Doctors assured the family that his body was only adjusting to the medication but his condition only seem to deteriorate further. They kept looking for the right medication that could perfectly suit his system. All this process made Zama’s life even more miserable. He said, “My Mom couldn’t even allow me go to shops fearing I might experience an epileptic seizure and they won’t be anyone around to help me” 
He was advised to stop studying/reading as his brain couldn’t handle any form of pressure but Zama refused and stubbornly kept fighting to make it in school while fighting epilepsy at the same time. He kept on going. Nonetheless, he experienced the peak of his illness in his Matric year. The epilepsy became uncontrollable and none responsive to medication. This lead to him failing Matric, something he had fought hard for. Even though he failed Matric but he passed Mathematic (65%). His hopes of having a certificate to show for his struggles and education were dashed against the wall. Zama, being the fighter that he is did not give up. He kept fighting to make something of himself even with no qualification. He still managed to get himself a job but his condition wouldn’t let him hold on to the job. 
Zama had a passion for gymnastics. He started tumbling when he was only 10 years old.  He says “I used to go to the park and watched other kids tumbling on old mattresses and I also started doing it during school breaks and at home.” Although his Mom was very protective and wouldn’t let him practice it for fear of suffering a seizure but Zama wouldn’t listened to his mom. He kept on practicing gymnastics every chance he got. He says, “Gymnastics took my mind off my condition and other struggles” “I couldn’t give up on it. I knew looking for another job was just a waste of time and so I focused fully on gymnastics”
Zama began reading on Beethoven and he became his greatest inspiration and hero. Ludwig van Beethoven was a German music legend, composer and pianist, who lost his hearing in his late 20’s yet went on to become the most famous and influential of all composers. In reading how Beethoven didn’t give up his dream even though he was deaf, Zama said to himself, “if a deaf person can still continue to compose great music then what about me, it means I can also do something with my life even though I’m epileptic” And so he kept pushing himself in back flips with one hand. He researched at what was the current World Records at that time and went all out to beat it.
Zama practically taught himself gymnastics and trained in any available free space he found on the street of ekasi. It was very hard for me to train, it could be on grass, a tar road, sand or a pavement” he confessed. “I HAVE NEVER TRAINED IN A GYMNASTICS CENTRE”, as there were none in Tembisa. The nearest Centre is in Kempton Park but time and transport was a challenge for me”. Irrespective of these, no challenge has been strong enough to stop Zama from fulfilling his dream of breaking World Record for the most back flips with one hand.
At long last, the 27-year-old from Makhulong in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, in 2017 achieved his dream and broke the record for the most consecutive back flips with one hand. He did 34 in a row! He made it into the Guinness Book of World Records despite his epileptic condition. Don’t let setback stop you. Let it be the jolt you need to get to the top.” He says “giving up because of your condition is another way to fail yourself.
Zama says “I am not born to follow but born to lead” Zama and his friend recently started training young boys who have the same vision as he did. His vision is to change the township and build a gymnastics training facility and so much more. Zama believe we can change our conditions, we can change the labels society have put on us. Even labels doctors have put on us. He asked “If you don’t fight to change your condition, who will? No one understands what you are facing more than you. He change his label from an epileptic to the holder of world Record for the most consecutive back flips. What setback has stopped you from moving forward?

In conclusion, Zama Xolani Mofokeng says “Epilepsy or any other condition is no excuse for anyone to fail in life”. 

He is appealing to the government, private organization and individuals to come on board in support of building a gymnastics training facility. Children need something to focus their energy on and take their minds off things that could jeopardize their future.

His achievement was celebrated on his Birthday last year, August 9th 2017.
“Become so good at what you do that you cannot be ignore”
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I am Nicky Verd, a Prolific Writer and Transformational Speaker. I am passionate about inspiring you to take ownership of your life. Reconnect with your dreams and jump-start your personal transformation.
“You owe yourself everything you expect from others” 


Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. Follow me on Social Media for more tips on how to take ownership of your life. 



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