In the history books!
My name is Felaziphi Lucas Sithole
I was born in 1986 at Newcastle in KwaZulu Natal and I grew up in a small town called Danhauser where I attended pre-school and Grade One. On Saturday 25th July 1998 my mother sent me to buy milk from a local garage shop near the railway line. As I started back home a train driver called to me and asked me to buy him two beers. I quickly ran home first and told my mom what I was doing and she said it was okay. I bought the two beers and went to give them to the driver of the slowly moving train. I was only small, I was 11. I tried to jump up to pass him the beers but I slipped and fell under the train. Less than an hour later I was in the Madadeni Provincial Hospital minus both of my legs and part of my right arm.
Three weeks later I was discharged from the hospital and that's when my life changed, not only my life but that of my family too because we had to move to a house that would allow me to move around freely. My legs were amputated very high up so I have never been fitted for prostheses. My family, especially my mom (Sibongile Langa) have been very supportive. I have three sisters (Zanele, Phindile and Simphiwe) one older than me and two younger. My first "special" school was Bumbisizwe at Newcastle Madadeni Section 5.
It as there that I was motivated by my schoolmates, and the new me began! My teacher, Mrs Joyce Kunene, Introduced me to the world of sport and competed in athletics for two years. When wheelchair basketball was first introduced at the school I didn't like it because it was too aggressive for me but, within three months,I was one of the best players at the school! In 2004 I was elected to represent KZN at the Nedbank Championships for the first time and in 2005 I joined the U23 squad in Durban.
We moved to Pretoria and I attended Philadelfia Secondary School. Things were very different there because it has a mixof differently abled students including deaf, physical, blind and albinism.
In 2005 was introduced to wheelchair tennis by Derick Peete and trained with Patrick Selepe, one of the top players of that time. In 2006 I had my first International tournament at Amsterdam in Holland and fell in love with tennis! Tennis has truly changed my life. It has taught me to believe in my dreams and, as tennis is an individual sport, it has also taught me self-discipline and how to control my emotions both on and off the court.
Over the past five years I have managed to improve my world ranking. For the first time ever South African wheelchair Tennis player is ranked 13th in the world! That's means I have made history!