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Heroes welcome for female trailblazing sailor

Date: 2024-05-10 11:24:07

Heroes welcome for female trailblazing sailor

EThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, together with other representatives, welcomed Vuyisile Jaca at King Shaka International Airport on 1 May.

VUYISILE Jaca, a trailblazing sailor from South Africa, has etched her name in the annals of maritime history as the first black South African woman to circumnavigate the globe. Jaca’s remarkable feat was achieved aboard the iconic yacht Maiden, where she played an integral role in the all-female crew’s victorious journey in the
Ocean Globe Race 2023/24. 

Born in a small village called Mbangeni, near Umzinto in KwaZulu-Natal, Jaca’s early life was marked by tragedy as she lost her parents at a very young age. Sent to Durban to live with a half-brother, she attended JG Zuma High School in KwaMashu. It was here that her remarkable journey began. Introduced to sailing through Sail Africa, Jaca’s initial encounter with the sea was fraught with uncertainty. She couldn’t swim and had no experience on a boat. Yet, the allure of the open waters captivated her, igniting a passion that would shape her future. 

Today, Jaca stands as a symbol of hope and inspiration, not only for young girls in South Africa but for aspiring sailors worldwide. Circumnavigating the globe aboard the Maiden, with an international all female team, she defied expectations and shattered barriers. For a young township girl raised to fear the water, this achievement is nothing short of phenomenal. It’s a testament to her resilience, courage, and unwavering spirit. Her journey, alongside two of her teammates, also marked a historic moment as they became the first black women to round Cape Horn, with Jaca possibly being the only African-born girl child to do so. 

Her triumphant return was celebrated at King Shaka International Airport where dignitaries and well-wishers gathered to honour her achievement. Among them were eThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, representatives from the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, Sascoc Children’s Department, and the eThekwini Maritime Cluster, along with learners from JG Zuma High School’s maritime studies programme and the Sail Africa - Durban team.