Revered fashion designer Ole Ledimo will compete in the Iron Man challenge in Bela-Bela, Limpopo, this weekend in memory of the late Gugu Zulu.
Ledimo told Sowetan that before his untimely death, Zulu had been his training partner along with his wife as they prepared to take on the extreme sport challenge that involved open-water swimming, cycling and running. This would be his first time in Iron Man after two months of preparation and will be accompanied by Phenyo Mothopa, a fellow trainer.
We had planned to do this with Gugu. I will be going ahead in his memory. Gugu introduced me to mountain biking, everything I know is credit to him. He always wanted to push me to the extreme. He came to me and said, ‘champ, it’s time for Iron Man’. Without any doubt I agreed, and as we were busy preparing, news came that he was gone.
“I’m very nervous. This will be the first time doing open-water swimming. I know it will be different and tough, it’s not like a swimming pool and anything can happen. But I’m looking forward to it.”
Ledimo has completed two Comrades marathons and sees Iron Man as a challenge, being a sport black people are not involved in. He says while his participation is in honour of Zulu, he also wants to send a message to black youth that they can achieve whatever they dream of. “The best way to honour him is to continue with this. Also, I will be getting donations of sanitary towels for girls, something he was passionate about.”
Ledimo said he had always been an adrenaline junkie having done 180km of mountain biking between Johannesburg and Hartbeespoort Dam with Zulu, and taking part in the 94.7 Cycle Challenge.
“This weekend in Bela-Bela I will be holding a banner that says, ‘In living memory of Gugu Zulu’, because Gugu lived, he did everything he wanted to do.”
Ledimo is also working on his television design reality show called Raw Silk, coming to the SABC1 later in the year.
He will not be showing at next month’s SA Fashion Week because of other projects that took up his time, he said.