From Rushinga to Cali – The Nomatter Kapfudzaruwa story

By (Follow on Twitter @ athleticsafrica)

Her big dream is to become one of the top athletes in the world.

But there is a more immediate wish: to get a scholarship to a boarding school in the city; and a dream of becoming a member of the Zimbabwe National Army because she believes “being a soldier is a sign of bravery and patriotism”.

Born 17-years-ago, in the remote area of Dambakurima Village, Rushinga in Zimbabwe, Nomatter Kapfudzaruwa is taking steps towards greatness.

After winning silver and bronze medals at the Africa Youth Championship in Reduit, Mauritius in April 2015, has her sights firmly on the IAAF World Youth Championships set for Cali, Colombia this July.

Fresh from Mauritius, she competed at the COSSASA Games in Lesotho where she ran 400m in 56.82 seconds to qualify for the World Youth Championships.

Miss Kapfudzaruwa, a Form Two pupil at Katakura Secondary who only got to wear running spikes this year, is pushing herself to the limit as she seeks a better living through athletics.

“I wish I could get a scholarship to a boarding school, maybe in Harare, for more exposure in athletics. However, I am grateful to a number of people who have helped me to be where I am right now, including Camfed, who are paying my school fees,” she told The Sunday Mail.

Dogged determination

Nomatter Kapfudzaruwa lost both parents when she was just five. And she has been determined to carve her own space in the world ever since.

She wakes up at 5am every day and takes to the nearby Katakura Primary for jogging and drills.

After the hour-long morning workout, Kapfudzaruwa goes for classes before changing back into training gear for an afternoon session that usually runs from 2pm to 5pm.

Her work ethic explains why she was a double-medal winner at the .

“I am happy with what I achieved at the championships. I wanted gold, of course, but unfortunately I felt so tired towards the finishing line and managed to come second in 59.03,” says Kapfudzaruwa, who also won bronze in the relay.

“Everyone in the village is happy for me and they are urging me to continue working hard.

“My friends are also inspired and some have decided to take to athletics after I told them about Mauritius and its beautiful beaches.

“No matter where you come from or your background, if you are determined you can achieve whatever you want,” she added.

Strong character

Her uncle Elphas Kapfudzaruwa, who took custody after her parents demise, described his niece as having a ‘tough skin and a strong heart’.

Elphas told The Sunday Mail: “She is a determined girl. There have been some tough times in our lives and you could tell that being an orphan was affecting her, but I would encourage her to keep working hard.

“I noticed her talent when she was in Grade Six and decided to support her. She is a humble girl who has persevered and worked hard to be where she is now.

“It has been hard for her being the only child since her brother went AWOL, while some relatives have not offered any support.”

director of youth coaching Briad Nhubu reckons their outreach programmes are slowly bearing fruit.

“To have a girl from Rushinga competing at such a stage shows that we are spreading the net very wide in search of talent. It’s encouraging and we will continue to do so.

“Nomatter put up a impressive performance in Mauritius and we will be monitoring her every move to ensure that she realises her full potential.”