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Against All Odds, You 'Swim Your Own Race'

Illustration of Olympic swimmer and amputee Natalie du Toit.

South African poet Mbali Vilakazi is also a performer and radio producer based in Cape Town. Vilakazi's poem pays tribute to South African swimmer Natalie du Toit, the first female amputee ever to qualify for the Olympic Games.

Du Toit lost her leg after a scooter accident at age 17. During the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, she carried the torch for South Africa and competed in the women's 10 km open-water race. The Order of Ikhamanga mentioned in the poem is awarded by the president of South Africa for achievement in culture and sports. Of du Toit's accomplishments Vilakazi says, "I want to be able to celebrate her and the inspiration she is. ... She is everything the Olympics represent to me — the triumph of the human spirit."

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