- A CYCLIST WITH A PASSION
KNOW YOUR SPORTS STAR
A bicycle has been a darling to most Malawian households both in urban and village settings. However, it is ironic that although a bicycle is a Malawian’s best friend, many of local nationals regard cycling as a sport either for the whites or foreign nationals in general. How this came into being, nobody knows. But what is known is that many a Malawian, either have limited knowledge about this lucrative sporting discipline or are purely not interested in it.
Gilbert Majamanda is one youthful cyclist from Mzuzu who is amongst the very few who realized the beauty of this sport at an early age. He cycles under Mzuzu Cycling Club.
Having started active cycling in 2005, Gilbert knows the do’s and don’ts of the game. Everister Lungu of EM’s bumped into this wonder boy to share his insights into this lesser-known, rather lesser loved sport in Malawi.
Profile by Everister Lungu
- Birth name: Gilbert Majamanda
- Date of birth: 23/09/1993
- Club: Mzuzu Cycling
- Role model in the discipline: George Chirwa (Mzuzu Cycling Club)
- Favourite food: locally food such as nsima with chicken
To avid cycling fans locally, the name Gilbert Majamanda is not very new. The persona behind the name is one of the common sights in the game. He cycles under the banner, Mzuzu Cycling Club. Unlike other sports personalities locally and globally, Gilbert is a rare phenomenon; his venturing into cycling was not for monetary rewards but for the love of the game.
“I am not a cyclist in competing. I’m attached to the sport to see it grow and bring people together and socialise.
To him, priotizing money at the expense of passion can ruin not only the sport but also one’s career.
“Once you are in it for money, you will end up using other people for personal gain, you will never enjoy the sport when you don’t see money, hence you become corrupt,” revealed Majamanda
What does it take to be cyclist?
To all curious minds about this sport, Gilbert says cycling is not for the faint-hearted, financially. Cycling is an expensive sport, and to be there you need to have enough money.
“To buy a bike, top notch bike, is not easy…the cycling gear, shoes, shirts, helmet, all…you name it! All these are expensive. To be honest, as per average Malawian, one cannot manage to buy all these. No wonder most of us depend on second hand stuff and donors for transport and accommodation,” he enlightens.
How to promote cycling locally
Gilbert is of the view that there is a lot that can be done by various stakeholders to make cycling in Malawi a glorious sporting discipline.
To his fellow colleagues in the game, he has this, “Take cycling as any other cycling activity; don’t wait for Olympic Games,” he advises.
To all and sundry, he feels there is more that they can do so as to make cycling in Malawi, a sport to reckon with; just like other sporting disciplines like soccer and netball. To him, maximum support is all what is needed.
“Among others, let’s support cycling clubs which are still existing. A lot of organisations even the government support football, netball and even volleyball; why not investing in cycling? Majamanda pleaded.
He feels if ell invested, cycling could be a major forex earner locally.
“It can also be a source of foreign currency since a lot of foreign tourists love cycling.” Says he.
That is not all, “Cycling is also good for physical exercises; don’t rely on jogging, football, and what have yous alone; try cycling.” He suggests.
What it takes to be a cyclist
Minus passion, according to Gilbert, there is a lot for a would be cyclist to be one.
Firstly, a balanced diet is the key to any successful cyclist.
“As a cyclist, you are advised not to ride on an empty stomach. A car cannot go without fuel. You need energy to ride. And also note that you can’t ride with full stomach as well. During the cycling act, you need to be taking in a lot of water and eat a lot of bananas” he advises.
A good sense of leadership is also a key to being a successful cyclist. According to him, cycling is a social sport hence the need to relate well with others.
“As a club manager, Team manager, a coach or any senior position holder, learn to love, give and share. Good advice and lead by example. Respect others, don’t favour any one, uplift the weak, encourage the strong, watch your mouth and your actions because your actions may make people stay or leave. Don’t be the reason people hate cycling. Your followers will always do what they see in you,” he advises.
Enterprising Gilbert, has a simple vision.
“As a member of Mzuzu Cycling Club, I see it coming that one day, cycling will be the best sporting activity and we will have a chance to take part or even hosting tournament here in Malawi.”
Take home message to all youth sports personalities in Malawi
To Gilbert, self-belief is the name of the game. He advises fellow youth sports personalities to strive hard to be the best in their sports disciplines.
‘’Be productive and contributing citizens, believe in yourself that you have a potential and you can do it. One step at a time; even builders start with one brick to construct a house. Whatever sporting activity you choose, do it with love and passion; enjoy and the rest will follow.
The world is the stage people are watching all the good you do, and you shall be paid back. Don’t step or use people to advance your agenda,’’ he advises.
Since soccer has failed the Malawi nation, it is high time Malawians started recognizing such potential sporting disciplines as cycling. Nothing is impossible. Let’s join hands and support those who are into cycling and anyone who has aspirations of venturing into it. It begins with you!
A special plea to parents and guardians
“When you see a child having a passion in cycling, don’t discourage him, or her; give them a motivation and let them show what they have. You may never know what the future holds!” pleads he.
To all aspiring youthful cyclists
“Be exemplary!” That is the advice Gilbert is offering to his fellow youths out there.
“Youths are leaders of today, they should leave an exemplary life style. They should refrain them self from alcohol and start taking part in any type of sporting activities in order to pass time and keep themselves busy. Remember health bodies lead to better development. So take your time and choose your side; cycling needs people who are strong and energetic!”