Xolani Luvuno
Amputee Runner

The toughest race with the warmest heart. 

Voet van Afrika Stories

We are inspired

by Xolani’s


Xolani’s story from a drug addict to the champion that he became, was not the story of a young man’s rehabilitation, but of his TRANSFORMATION.

Abandoned by his parents, Xolani was raised by a grandmother and an uncle. He became a school drop-out and lived a life of drugs and crime. In 2003, Xolani was sentenced to 5 years in prison following his arrest for housebreaking. After his release from prison he continued to live on the streets and led the only lifestyle that he knew – gangs, crime and drugs.



Xolani developed bone cancer and had his right leg amputated above the knee in 2008. He ended up as a beggar on the streets of Pretoria where he lived under a bridge for approximately 7 years. Addicted to drugs and with no hope for the future, Xolani would often find food in rubbish bins and rather use the cash that he got from begging to purchase drugs.

In April 2016 Xolani was spotted begging at a traffic light by the man that he would later refer to as his “father”. He was offered employment and accommodation and the hope of a new life which would include his 1st prosthetic leg.

Within 2 days after he started working, Xolani confessed to his drug addiction and asked for understanding and support to kick this habit. With lots of encouragement from a special group of work colleagues, he managed to overcome the demon of drugs and was “clean” within 10 days. A couple of months after overcoming his drug addiction, he started to abuse alcohol, but after some tough love from his new father and with support from Alcoholics Anonymous and his caring work colleagues, he also managed to kick this habit.

Inspired by a team-building excursion with his work colleagues to the Comrades Marathon in 2016, road running would become the key that brought out the best in him.  Xolani ran his 1st 5km road race in September 2016 and soon moved on to 10 and 21 km races – all on crutches.

On 1 May 2017, Xolani ran his 1st full marathon (42.2 km) in a time of 7 hours and 3 minutes, more than an hour behind the 2nd last athlete. This story was picked up on by the media and was covered by numerous local and international television- and radio stations as well as in newspapers and magazines.


A short while later, Xolani completed his first full marathon: The Wally Hayward Marathon, on his prosthetic leg.

In June 2018 Xolani completed his 1st Comrades Marathon on crutches in a time of 15 hours and 50 minutes.

Xolani next took on the challenge of triathlons and completed his first 70.3 Half Ironman in East London in January 2019 which included a 1.9km swim, 90 km cycle and 21.1 km run.

Xolani participated in the Full Ironman in Port Elizabeth in April 2019. After completing the swim in a very rough sea, he broke 2 bones in his hand due to a fall in the transition area. He still managed to complete the 180 km cycle, but missed the cut-off by 6 minutes and was not able to complete the remainder of the race.

2 of Xolani’s most memorable runs were in the Voet van Afrika marathon in 2018 and 2019 – he was the last man home in 2019!

Xolani shared his story with a multitude of groups as a motivational speaker, ranging from schools to businesses, Government Departments and groups of drug addicts. He lived a life filled with immense gratitude and a sense of responsibility and a purpose to protect others who were vulnerable and to use his story to inspire people from all walks of life.

Xolani sadly passed away on 20 September 2021.


Resources for Runners


This year, you can register online through ChampionChip (www.championchip.co.za). Online entries close 30 September …

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What time does the full marathon start? The marathon starts at 06:00. Find our answers to frequently asked questions here …

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Going Green

The Voet van Afrika team takes this greening role seriously. Every year, we’ll implement more innovative green steps …

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What an amazing race. Will definitely return. Thank you Bredasdorp for your hospitality.

Tracey van Niekerk