Three backflips towards her dream
Stephanie Munageni Katusuva, a 12-year-old self-taught gymnast from Oshiteyi village in the Omusati Region, recently became the recipient of a scholarship.
24 March 2020 | People
Young Stephanie Munageni Katusuva, who gained fame after a video of her performing for fellow learners at Ogongo Combined School in February went viral, was awarded a scholarship by the Namibia National Olympic Committee, which will see her attend school at Windhoek Gymnasium Private School and train at Windhoek Rhythmic Club.
Born and bred in Oshiteyi village, what is fascinating about her is the fact that despite her lack of formal training, the young girl keeps pushing herself to the limits, and she can do it just like any other gymnast.
Her love for gymnastics started at around the age of five, and it was inspired by Lady May doing a split in one of her music videos.
“I then asked an aunt of mine to download some gymnastic videos for me to watch. After watching, I always tried to imitate what I saw,” she said.
According to Katusuva, her biggest challenge was financial constraints as her mom could not afford to take to a school that offers gymnastics as an extra mural activity. Additionally, the only gymnastic club in Ongwediva closed down before she could get a chance to join.
“I can proudly say I nurtured my talent with the help of the TV by practising the few moves I knew until I mastered them on my own,” she said.
Katusuva added that her current goal is to master the sport and be a professional gymnast one day.
“With the help of Virginia Hamilton, a peace-corp volunteer teacher at our school who organised the Valentine’s event and took a video which was then uploaded on Facebook by my mom’s supervisor, I got a chance to be a recipient of a scholarship that will see me get an education from one of the best schools in Namibia,” she said proudly.
Katusuva further shared her excitement on getting the opportunity to be trained by a professional coach in good facilities and a conducive environment.
She is hopeful that she will learn more about the sport, qualify to represent Namibia and win medals at international competitions.
“I am happy and grateful that I’ve been added to the athlete support grant that is funded by Olympic Solidarity for the upcoming youth games in Dakar, Senegal in 2022.”
Katusuva urges her peers to always believe in themselves and to never give up on their dreams.
“The time will come when someone somehow recognises your determination and makes your dreams a reality the same way it happened to me,” she said.
She extended appreciation to the Namibian nation for the love they showed her on social media and hopes to fly the Namibian flag high.
Fun fact about Stephanie
She loves watching cartoons and sport.