When will there be a safe space for spinning in Soweto?

Spinning enthusiast SAKHUMZI MZANTSI (36) dreams of having a facility set up so that those you love the extreme motorsport can drift and spin in safety. But, he told Mandla Nyaqela, his dream may be a long way off.

I fell in love with spinning a long time ago. In 2008 I bought my own BMW 325 to spin with and began participating in the sport as a spinner in 2011. At that time, the sport was considered dangerous and was regarded as criminal. So a group of spinning enthusiasts got together to Motorsport South Africa (MSA) to consider legalising it.

MSA gave us a set of requirements that we’d need to fulfil in order to be recognised with a legal sporting code. We worked hard to make sure that we met all the requirements and eventually the MSA recognised spinning as a code within its organisation.

BMW spinning is a sport loved by many young people all over country, especially from where I come from – Soweto. It is performed on the street corners of Soweto and is much loved by people in the neighbourhood. Spinning a BMW for only five minutes in a corner around my neighbourhood in Soweto can get more than a hundred young people on board as an audience in no time.

Unfortunately we do not have our own spinning facilities to perform and hold spinning events in Soweto. It has been more than five decades now since the pioneers of this sport tried to advocate for a spinning facility, without any luck.

The government continues to ignore us. Whenever we appeal for a piece of land to develop for hosting events, we’re turned down.

It is so unfair that a sport that is loved by millions of young and old people in the country is not given any form recognition by the government at our disposal. When young white people fly bikes somewhere in the mountains, it’s called an extreme sport, but when a young person from Soweto spins a BMW it’s called criminal and dangerous.

What saddens us is that come election time we get called to come and assist with campaigns. They keep promising that they will look into our concerns for the sport and find a proper space for a facility to be erected, but nothing ever comes of it. We keep falling into the trap of being used by the ANC every time elections approach, because we keep hoping that this time will be the time they come through for us.

We keep praying and hoping that one day the government day will treat us fairly and give this loved sport the recognition it deserves.

– As told to Mandla Nyaqela