Video

This 11-year-old Zimbabwean Motorcrosser Embodies Grit, Grace & Girl Power

Tanya Muzinda of Zimbabwe is proving that girls can off-road race, too.

Most people say boys are better than girls, says Zimbabwean motorcrosser Tanya Muzinda.


But she’s racing to prove those naysayers wrong, despite motorcross (off-road racing) being a largely male-dominated arena.

“At times I do beat the boys, so they feel terrible because they were beaten by a girl,” Muzinda, who has been motorcrossing since she was five years old, tells BBC.

Muzinda’s dad introduced her to the sport, which has a modest, yet devoted following throughout the continent. And the hobby has evolved into a family affair for the Muzindas, though she adds, “in my family, it’s a rule to do school first”— so adorbs.

“It’s a sport we enjoy doing because it makes us bond as a family,” she says.

Training four times a week at Donnybrook Raceway, Muzinda explains, “to be good in motorcross you have to have the right technique. And you should be focusing and safe.”

What she enjoys most about racing is the speed, the ability to ride anywhere, and of course, air jumping.

There aren’t many girl racers like Muzinda because it’s an expensive sport. And finding a motorcrossing bike is especially difficult in Zimbabwe, she says.

For girls who want to try motorcrossing—or enter any male-dominated space for that matter—Muzinda offers this advice:

“The sky is the limit. Do what you want and later on in life, you’ll succeed.”

Muzinda is wise beyond her years.

Learn more about her story in the AJ Plus video below.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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