Celebrating one of Africa’s Best Cyclist: Uwizeyimana
Uwizeyimana, who is 23 years old, has an unlikely background for a budding professional cyclist. Born in Rwanda’s mountainous northwest, a year before the 1994 genocide, he spent time as a refugee in neighboring Congo, lost his mother during childhood, and endured two surgeries to repair a cleft palate.
In 2008, as a 15-year-old primary school dropout, he began hauling passengers and cargo on a clunky single-speed bicycle. His goal was merely to help his family scrape by.
Today, thanks in part to a 58-year-old American named Jonathan “Jock” Boyer—Uwizeyimana is aiming higher. Since 2012, when he was selected on his third attempt to join Team Rwanda, the national squad launched by Boyer in 2007, Uwizeyimana has developed into one of his country’s top cyclists.
he’s set to join the France-based Vendée-U, a feeder team for Team Europcar, whose top nine riders will be part of the 2014 Tour de France peloton.
According to Boyer, Uwizeyimana is one of several young African riders with the potential to reach cycling’s highest level—trailblazers on a continent that Boyer predicts will soon radically alter the sport’s competitive landscape.
“Africa is home to incredible cycling talent,” he says.
Although the continent is not there yet, Boyer is convinced that the era of African cycling dominance is not far off.
Uwizeyimana, himself testified that he had nothing before the days of his cycling career but now he’s got a house and money and his life has been changed.
This was made possible not by his family members or a fellow African but by an American Jonathan Boyer whose heart reached out to young Africans. Others he made cycling champions include:
Rwanda’s first pro cyclist, Adrien Niyonshuti, who rides with the South Africa-based Team MTN-Qhubeka, Eritrea’s top rider, a 23-year-old named Natnael Berhane who is the only black rider that has participated in cycling premiere events.
If everyone of us can have a heart to reach out in what ever capacity we can to do those around us just like Jonathan Boyer. I guess the world would be a better place.
Article by: Ekowa Abosede Oghoghomena