Mbanjwa, Dreyer back in the water

Canaan Mdletshe

Popular KwaZulu-Natal paddler Micheal Mbanjwa, the first black winner of the Hansa-Powerade Dusi Canoe Marathon, has announced that he will be teaming up with his record-breaking partner, Martin Dreyer, for the shortened version of the race - the Stihl Non-stop Dusi - on Saturday.

The two made headlines a fortnight ago when they broke the record of the 57-year-old race and are favourites to win Saturday's paddle from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. Mbanjwa won last year's Non-stop Dusi in a single canoe.

The rules of the race are that there are no rules, but paddlers will have to beat the cut-off time at two checkpoints en route.

Mbanjwa, 24, is from the Valley of a Thousand Hills in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

He said: "I still have a smile on my face from our Dusi win. It's amazing as everyone in the Valley wants to start paddling now. I am sure there will be many cheering us on when we come through the Valley and I can't wait to be racing again."

Dreyer, 39, who has threatened to retire from the Dusi, says that he and Mbanjwa are ready.

"I always come back home for this one no matter where I am in the world. It is a very special race."

Mbanjwa has one request, though: "I really would like to be known as the winner of last year's Stihl Non-stop Dusi and this year's Hansa-Powerade Dusi.

"I am not a development paddler and I don't want to be known as a black paddler any more."