A conversation with Dumezweni
The man who jumps for God
Currently recovering from a leg injury; which has cost him a chance to compete in this year’s African Athletics Championship, a surprisingly jovial Dumezweni ‘The Naz’ Dube expresses how excited he is to finally be able to rest and most importantly eat whatever he wants for the first time in a long time. After almost a decade of representing Zimbabwe in triple jump this leg injury has provided some unforeseen time off for the 26 year old.
An impressive career that initially started off with him getting into triple jump in order to be popular at his high school because that was the only way that he could become a prefect, unexpectedly saw him competing all the way from district level to representing Zimbabwe at the African championships where he ranked 7.
“I realised that people at school were not very good at triple jump, so I spent the entire holiday before school opened for the year watching videos of Christian Taylor and training so that I could be able to compete the following year at school. I became one of the best at school and soon I realised that people enjoyed watching me fly.”
He says that it was quite a shocker for him to discover that not only was he good at sports in general but that he was particularly phenomenal at this particular sport. “It was a shocker but I had to play it cool because you know how it is high school; you have to play it cool and act like this is something you knew you could always do.” He laughs it off. Soon he was attending an athletics academy where he got the opportunity to travel to America in order to receiver further training and his career took off from there.
He attributes his success to a combination of God, hard work, discipline and natural talent. “I believe that without God almighty no one can be anything and that is why I’ve branded everything of mine with the ‘I Jump for God statement.” The most important thing however, he says, is maintaining a healthy diet which means he can go a year without drinking alcohol or fizzy drinks. Eating healthy is pivotal and makes all the difference in training
“I believe that without God almighty no one can be anything and that is why I’ve branded everything of mine with the ‘I Jump for God statement.”
If you weren’t doing triple jump, what would you be doing? “I was always good at all the sports, I played football for some time but I realised that I wasn’t my happiest at team sport and that’s why I gravitated towards track.”
Dumezweni has been representing the country since he was 17 years old and now feels like this is a responsibility for him because a lot of young people look up to him and hope to achieve what he has or even better.
His story hasn’t been all roses because like any other sector in Zimbabwe, there are definitely challenges in sport. These range from lack of funding resulting in athletes footing the bill to represent the country, a shortage of sports therapists and physiotherapists and the lack of facilities that can maximise the performance of athletes. This often results in the country losing out on great talent because most young people cannot afford this.
“I believe if someone were to take their time and invest in Zimbabwean athletes they would become a billionaire because we are immensely talented people as evidenced in the number of Zimbabweans on sports scholarships all over world.”
Seeing the challenges that young athletes faced he decided to start an Academy called Sport and Fitness Equilibrium; that helps young athletes fresh out of high school prepare themselves for the kind of training that is required in order to compete in the big competitions.
“I want them to achieve the things that I wasn’t able to do myself, I want them to be able to travel abroad and compete against the best. They also deserve to have access to the right training and facilities to bring out the best in them.”
“I always tell them that; it doesn’t matter what background you’re from as you know you have what it takes and you put it the work you can become the best of the best. Train yourself to the limit and know that you will fail at some point but failure isn’t a setback it is an opportunity for you to train harder and improve yourself.”
He is currently preparing to compete to qualify for the Olympics in two years the same year he will be graduating from his Sports Science degree. Under the wing of his mentor Christian Taylor, there’s no doubt we can only expect a stellar performance form him.