Turning the tide after Gugu's death

Letshego Zulu
Letshego Zulu
Image: Supplied

They say time heals all wounds and popular race car driver Gugu Zulu's widow, Letshego, has chosen to live life.

Letshego did that through her memoir called I Choose to Live: Life After Losing Gugu, which is her full story of the roller coaster of emotions she went through after going on an epic adventure with her beloved late hubby, only to return to SA alone.

Gugu died while attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania as part of the #Trek4Mandela campaign in 2016.

The 34-year-old biokineticist and adventure enthusiast had been under the microscope since the tragic death of Gugu.

She said she made the choice to be free.

"You make a choice; whether to allow grief to freeze you or free you," she said. "I don't mind the microscope. Having been in the public eye for such a long time I have learnt to manage the microscope at my level.

"When I came back from Kilimanjaro back in 2016, the microscope was not easy to deal with.

"When I walked into a restaurant, everybody noticed me and you are met with eyes of pity and sadness.

"I found myself literally keeping my eyes down for quite some time because I just did not want to be met with eyes of pity and sadness... until I made the choice to start living life and then those eyes changed their tune.

"Then I was met with eyes of joy and happiness," said Letshego.

"That just made the microscope a little bit easier or palatable to deal with."

She told Sunday World that if she were given an opportunity to speak to Gugu today, he would have been proud of the decision she made.

The memoir took her more than two years to complete.

With the monkey on her back, various people had been telling her to pen her thoughts. She heeded the call and launched the book on Mandela Day, in Sandton.

"For quite some time I had people saying that I needed to write a book and at that time I had an interview with a young lady called Savannah.

"We had this lovely interview for about two hours and at some point she said to me that I needed to write a book. I said, 'I don't know how to even start or where. I hear them when they say I should write a book and share this with people'," Letshego said.

She said that after her conversation with the journalist, she kick-started her first draft of the book.

Daughter Lelethu was one when her father died.

She says Lelethu has become an assertive young girl.

"She just turned four. She is a strong-willed little four-year-old that knows what she wants. I like that about her," Letshego said.

"A girl child needs to be assertive in what they want and don't want."

A first prize for Letshego is that her daughter is healthy.

The businesswoman is still running Pop Up Gym in an effort to get South Africans off their couches and moving.

"Exercise is a great gift to help make your life a little easier," she said.

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