Zomba Athletics Academy matron to participate in Standard Bank Be More Race and Blantyre 42.195km as fundraiser for Paralympic affected by Cyclone Freddy

Eneless Makumba preparing for the two races

* 18-year-old Mphatso Saukile is very successful Blind T12 Malawian international athlete

* His home, along with two other Zomba Athletic Academy athletes was destroyed but no other help has been provided

By Duncan Mlanjira

Zomba Athletics Academy deputy matron, Eneless Makumba, who is also wife to the club’s founder and coach, Benedicto Makumba will participate in Standard Bank Be More Race and Blantyre 42.195km marathon to fundraise for Paralympic, Mphatso Saukile who was affected by March’s Cyclone Freddy-induced floods.


His family’s home collapsed and Eneless, also welfare officer of the Academy, is targeting to raise K4.5 million to build him a new house as well as two other affected Zomba Athletics Academy athlete.

Despite the disaster that befell his family, the paralympic athlete participated at the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games in December 22 in 400m and 800m Regional 5 Games in Lilongwe where he won two gold medal in 800m and 400m and also represented the country in Italy Jesolo Grand Prix in Venice from May 12-15 — where he was second in 1500m and 5th in 400m in Open-aged competition.

Meanwhile, the Makumba’s UK-based partner, Margaret McMullan is assisting towards raising £3,500 for Eneless’ cause through justgiving.com.

She wrote: “A very successful Blind T12 Malawian international athlete, 18-year-old Mphatso is still homeless due to Cyclone Freddy in March this year. His home, along with two other Zomba Athletic Academy athletes was destroyed by the rains and wind of Cyclone Freddy and no other help has been provided.

“The Academy welfare officer, Eneless Makumba, wants to assist them through raising money in sponsorship. She is training hard to run the Be More Race (21km) in Lilongwe on June 17th and the Blantyre 42.195 marathon on July 30th.

“She would need MK4.5 million (approximately £3,530) to help replace two homes and repair one house. Eneless only started distance running last year when she joined her husband in the Mulanje Porters Race, which she successfully completed.

“Training and running for sponsorship is the way she sees she can try to help the club members who are in such a needy situation.”


McMullan enlightens the international wellwishers that Zomba Athletics Academy was founded by Benedicto Makumba in 2019 for the benefit of disadvantaged young people aged 14-20 in Zomba in Southern Malawi.

“Their unexpected good performances has brought many challenges but competition success is continuing but Cyclone Freddy destroyed the homes of three of the athletes.

“They urgently need homes,” she said, while appealing for wellwishers to sponsor Eneless, saying the money raised will be managed by a small group of supportive parents of the Academy’s athletes.

“I have followed the development of Zomba Athletic Academy and its athletes and give full support to Eneless. Her commitment to the athletes and training is truly inspirational.”

Saukile during Region 5 Games

And at the Grand Prix in Italy last month

In the past year, the club’s 10 athletes represented Malawi in international meetings that culminated to Mphatso Saukile winning two gold medals at the Region 5 Youth Games.

“He was born blind from birth and he urgently needs a home if he is going to be able to keep training and have the the possibility of going to compete in the Paralympics in Paris next year,” said McMullan.

Meanwhile, the Academy’s founder and coach, Benedicto — a soldier with the Malawi Defence Force currently on UN peacekeeping mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) — also pays school fees for some of the underprivileged athletes using his own resources.

Benedicto Makumba

“The Academy has 47 athletes in total and I maintain the team through my salary I get from the MDF and from my business profits as well as occasional assistance from some of my friends.

“I get inspired because the are performing so well. Last year, the Academy got 17 medals at the national track and field events that took place in Lilongwe and contributed to Regional 5 games that took place in Lesotho.

“We were represented by three athletes namely Martha Bakili, Blessings Mwalure and Mphatso Saukile at those Lesotho Games where Martha brought silver medal in 3000m, Mphatso won silver in 800m and Blessings was in position 4 in 1500m.”

On the other hand, Makumba also emphasizes he encourages his athletes to concentrate on their academic pursuits and his contribution towards their school fees greatly motivates him as some have secondary school level.

“But to sustain them is a great challenge,” he said. “I am always going around appealing to wellwishers since the numbers are rising with 6 already in secondary school as of last year who were joined by five others.”

Makumba, who is also the national and southern Africa champion in 800m and 1500m, also paid tribute to the Academy’s Matron, Mrs Hande, a police traffic officer at Zomba Police for her tireless and selfless work in inculcating a culture of academic discipline in the atheletes.

Meanwhile, those wishing to support Makumba’s efforts of encouraging the athletes to also pursue their academic dreams, can deposit to Zomba Branch of the FDH Bank — Account name: Zomba Athletics Development Center; Account number: 1210000450527.

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