Mhlengi Gwala • The Princess Charlene Of Monaco Foundation South Africa Skip to content


Mhlengi Gwala is a professional life guard with an passion for Triathlon that almost cost him his life. He was born and raised in Chesterville, at the age of 23 an acquaintance introduced him to Thriathlon. He instantly fell in love, being intrigued in particular by its multifaceted nature, “it’s a very challenging sport because you have to prepare for three different sports in one.” Mhlengi rose rapidly through the ranks. He attributes this to a number of people around him who saw his potential and invested in it.

One early morning while doing a routine cycling session in the Durban before work, Mhlengi was attacked by three men with a chainsaw, by some miracle he managed to escape andcrawl to the road and flag down a passing private security vehicle. After weeks in hospital the doctors managed to save his badly damaged leg.

He was then able to focus on his journey to both physical and mental recovery. Then, two years after the attack, Mhlengi suffered another setback. His damaged leg became infected. A tough decision had to be made and his right leg was amputated at the knee to prevent the infection possibly spreading further.

He had to learn to walk and then to run with his new artificial limb. He also leaned heavily on his belief in God to heal his psychological scars. Throughout his journey to recovery he depended on the unwavering support of his family, friends and the tight-knit community of triathletes.

Since that fateful day, Mhlengi has twice placed first in African championships and twice in national championships. Now his heart is set on a place at the 2024 Paralympics. He has a handful of races left to earn enough points to confirm a ticket to Paris, France, where the Paralympic Games will take place from 28 August to 8 September. 

“If I can make it to the Paralympics, it would mean a lot because I’ve been working hard and I’ve been through a lot. If I succeed at arriving on such a massive stage, I will feel as though I have fulfilled my purpose. It would be such an indescribable achievement,” Gwala said.

“The only way to grow in a sport is to be consistent and disciplined. There’s no other way to do it if you have ambitions of improving,” he said.

Good luck Mhlengi – we as your proud sponsor are behind you all the way to Paris!

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