By: Mugamad Jacobs, Liam Moses – 19 May 2016
South African athletics golden boy and world 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk has donated R500 000 to Groote Schuur Hospital’s neonatal unit.
Van Niekerk announced the donation yesterday at an event where he was introduced as a brand ambassador for IT firm T-Systems.
Last year, the 23-year-old was awarded R500 000 and a Mercedes Benz C-class after he was named Sportsman of the Year and claimed the People’s Choice accolade at the South African Sports Awards.
Van Niekerk also won an additional R500 000 for the charity of his choice. At yesterday’s event he explained exactly why the choice of charity was such an easy one: he was one of the countless premature babies cared for since the neonatal unit opened in 1987.
“Obviously I don’t remember a thing, but it’s something that is very close to my mother’s heart… At first I didn’t really know the significance of it until I got to hear her side of it, and the emotions and stresses my family went through.
“All the care and special attention that they gave me as a baby, just to try and help me survive each day, and the way they cared for me.
“My mom told me that every day when she woke up, she didn’t know whether I was going to be alive or not, so it was easy for me to say ‘let’s help out other premature babies’.”