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Hi, my name is Thandile Zonke, I am 36 year old. I have three children and work at the ContiTech Conveyor Belt Group since October 2016.
I absolutly love speed, competition and a challenge. Most of the time I walk with crutches and – in one special context – I use a wheelchair. That a disability does not need be an obstacle to ambition is something I want to demonstrate every day.
I was diagnose with Polio at an early age, which affected the normal growth of my legs. So I learned to walk with crutches. Even though my legs might be quiet weak, my upper body in comparison in powerful and muscular. Which it needs to be, since I play wheelchair basketball. I started way back in primary school and kept doing it. It is a very demanding physical activity, calling for strength and coordination skills. With wheelchair basketball you need to master the art of pushing your chair while at the same time having to control the ball. It’s tricky but with time and practice you get to balance the two moves.
Basketball represents my blood, sweat, tears, passion, sacrifice… and most of all, it gives me a sense of belonging!
On of my biggest achievements in basketball includes a gold medal at the 2006 All African Games in Algeria. Two years later I was even able to fulfill on of my dreams: taking part in the Paralympics where I represented the South Africa at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games in China.
Currently I train twice a week with my team, the Pumas. Next to work and my family there is no more time for training.
I try to show the same passion and commitment that I have for basketball at my work every day. I liaise with customers and end-users, receive and capture orders, write quotations, organize the dispatch of goods and attend to all general kind of queries from customers. I really like my work, I find it fulfilling. I enjoy giving direct support to the senior management in a way that makes a difference. My contribution is vital to their ability to make key financial decisions which ultimately influence the overall success of Continental – and that is a great feeling.
In the future I can see myself climbing up the ladder at Continental and maybe move into management. I’m still fresh at the company, so we’ll see what comes.
And for basketball? I still have a few years of playing left in me, but then I can see myself coaching, sharing my knowledge and skills and in a way give back what I learned over the past years.