Harare – One of Southern Africa’s finest motocross riders, Zimbabwe’s Tanya Muzinda, got acquainted with stress when she was just six-years-old.
After proving her mettle in the track a year earlier, becoming the first ever female racer to win a motocross championship, Tanya found herself grounded. She didn’t have a bike. Sponsors weren’t forthcoming. Her parents couldn’t afford the US$2,000 needed for a bike and US$900 for a racing kit.
Her peers were in the same predicament. They quit. But she refused.
Tanya’s father Tawanda recalls the struggle
“You could see that my daughter was stressed. She loved her game but things were tight. We had no sponsors and I was trying hard to secure what I could for her. But, it was hard.”
When things got better, her parents could only afford a manual 50cc bike. Yet, her competitors had automatic bikes which meant she had to work twice as hard as other racers on the track.
But, that wasn’t her only worry. The family car which used to carry her and the bike to races broke down.
Said Tawanda, “We would push her bike for about 3km to the main road. We would hitchhike, mostly for trucks carrying farm produce to Harare. We would drop off and take another lift which would take us near Zimbabwe’s motocross centre, Donnybrook Racing Circuit.
“We would then push the bike to the course, Tanya doing what she knew with it. When people see her at this stage, they would think we had the means, no. We sacrificed a lot and we had to actually forego some of our luxuries just to help her realise her dreams.”
Tanya perfected her art and quickly established herself in the game as a star.
After dominating the Zimbabwean circuit, Tanya would leave the world in awe at the FIM Africa Motocross in Muldersdrift, South Africa in her international debut in 2013 when she was named Outstanding Young Female Rider (65cc).
She has since collected dozens of awards including the 2019 Junior Sports Women of the Year for Africa Union Sports Council Region 5.
Tanya is Honorary Ambassador of the European Union to Zimbabwe for Youth, Gender, Sports and Development; as well as the Zimbabwe Ambassador for Food Security in Rural Areas.
She is now based in Florida in the United States and is paying school fees for over 45 children in Harare.