Mona, the Operations Manager at Velokhaya, was bit by the cycling bug in 1997 after receiving his first bike – a gift from his uncle. In 2005 he was approached by Velokhaya success story Luthando Kaka and Amos Ziqubu to participate in trials for the first only black pro team. The rest is history.
As Operations Manager Mona manages the competitive rider programme and assists riders with their racing and training programmes. Being his first job, Velokhaya made him realise that he loves what he does and that there is no 'magic formula' in life. ‘Every day is different,’ he says of his work at the LCA, ‘and that's what I love about it. The secret is it doesn't feel like a job; I enjoy it because I love the sport and want individuals to succeed on and off the bike.’
Mona, a qualified sports conditioning coach, first rode a Scorpion BMX in 1992, sharing it with his older brother. While at school, his cycling ability caught the eye of CSC in South Africa, who subsequently sponsored a new racing bike. He joined the LCA's first Elite team in 2005 and competed in several national races. Now he only has time to cycle socially and participates in fun rides when his work schedule permits it.
The legacy through his work at Velokhaya/LCA is that he wants to give back to the organisation that has given him so much. He believes that South African businesses are a vital part of Corporate Social Investment (CSI) projects. With Velokhaya/LCA providing much needed social upliftment in the community he believes there is merit in getting involved in the work being done.
It is no wonder that Mona is seen as an extremely influential role-player, hence the fact that he is this year’s MC for the Mzansi Tour. Mona got his first exposure as MC during the first BMX event hosted by Velokhaya in Khayelithsha. Here he was approached by Paul Kaye to work for the Cycle Tour Trust.
As this year’s MC, it will be Mona’s responsibility to inform spectators on the sport as a whole, and communicate current race activities, constantly commentating on exciting updates during the race. He will be entertaining the crowds and making them as much a part of this race, as the riders themselves. Humbled and honoured by this position, this will be Mona’s first solo attempt in terms of multi-day events. Previous events where Mona was involved as MC includes the Comrades Marathon, Two Oceans Marathon, Cape Argus PicknPay Cycle Tour and the Absa Cape Epic.
Mona is very excited about the Mzansi Tour, mentioning that it has been a while since a race of this calibre was hosted in South Africa. According to Mona, the teams that are invited to this year’s event will boost the current level of riding as well as give South African riders and teams the chance to showcase their talents.
The unpredictability of this sport makes it difficult for Mona to predict an end result, even though he anticipates a very tough, competitive race, as riders will be fighting for the prize money as well as try to achieve maximum UCI points.
Looking at what he has achieved, Mona’s actions speak louder than his words. His message to the youth is: 'If you want to do something in life and you have a passion for it, try by all means. I still want to do things that are considered taboo and guess what, I will do them!’ Let’s see if his MC-skills are on the same level as his levels of motivation – beyond average!