Former MK leader now heads South African navy in Durban

Mhlaba Memela

Former Umkhonto we Sizwe commander Sifiso Mkhwanazi has taken over the reins of the South African navy in Durban.

Mkhwanazi is the first African to command the naval station.

Born in KwaMakhutha in 1974, he played soccer in the streets and attended schools in the area.

When Umkhonto we Sizwe and the South African Defence Force integrated, he was deployed to the navy.

He said he was excited about his appointment because it had been a life-long dream.

"It's a dream come true. I have been praying for this for many years. This will encourage youth to work hard as everything in life is possible," he said.

Mkhwanazi said his appointment would also be an inspiration to young naval officers that they "can also achieve high positions if they persevered".

"Challenges should not create fear because they are normal," he said.

Former commander, David Jones, was thrilled to hand over to "a dedicated and experienced officer who has what it takes to lead the navy".