BMX bandits aren’t always boys

Gritty and determined, a teenage girl from Khayelitsha is owning the world on her BMX.

BMX is for boys, right? Wrong. When Anita Zenani took up the extreme sport, she was the only girl in the pack. Out of necessity she competed against the guys, and won. Coming out tops more often than not, she climbed the rankings in the sport, getting as high as sixth. In the world.

Now 18, Zenani has travelled the globe competing. She is one of the emerging stars of the Velokhaya Cycle Project, which creates life-changing opportunities for young cyclists from Cape Town’s Khayelitsha township. The organisation was founded in 2003, with the aim of creating afterschool programs through road and BMX cycling. It uses a simple incentive to ensure positive results. If you don’t do your homework, you can’t ride. Zenani is one of its biggest success stories to date.

Thanks to determination, courage and a love for the thrill of competition, Zenani has made her mark in a male dominated sport. Her refusal to be intimidated is key to her success.