Arthanas Matongo

Copyrights: Arthanas Matongo

Arthanas Matongo

A former Zimbabwean International Middle and Long Distance Runner and founder of Waruka Academy.

As a child, I channelled my anger and pain into running. Later, as a World Marathon Runner, my goal was to empower youth from marginalised communities to follow my lead and overcome adversity through sport. I am so pleased to work with sportanddev.org, which shares my belief in the power of sport to transform lives.”

Arthanas is a Zimbabwean former marathon runner who was trained and mentored by top world-renowned coaches like Cees Vesteeg in Harlem, Netherlands and Donavan Wright who suffered a brain tumour and bounced back to be a World Masters Ultra Marathon Champion. He ran under the banner of Adidas International from 2003-2007, before joining Mr. Price Sports International in 2007 until 2013.

As a teenage boy, I lost my childhood girlfriend whom I dearly adored and at the time she was only 12. She was exchanged with cattle as a wife to a local businessman after her family was in a crisis which needed to be settled.  My friend was the asset that was traded to appease the case? I was born on the wrong side of the country in the rural areas of Zimbabwe, in a poor family that suffered tremendous loss of children due to the effects of forced child marriages. I was aware of what my sisters were going through and it gave me great anger. With that anger, I could run until it was gone. Little did I know that my anger would make me become a renowned athlete. I learnt to take my anger and pain through running and developed a trend of running that made me become a World Marathon Runner.

"My experience of pain and sorrow I saw from my sisters could not continue in my country in the 21st century, while the world is pursuing the Millennium Development Goals.  I have learnt to embrace victims of forced and child marriages from my family and support them for their healthy, physical and social needs. One victim is too many. 

"I have developed an organisation called Waruka Academy, a Shona name that means ‘take a leap’ or ‘jump’. We empower teenage girls to jump and run away from forced and early childhood marriage to personality development through sports.”

E-Newsletter subscribe