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‘Zandi the mermaid’ on being the first black female freediver

Black Women in Sports

‘Zandi the mermaid’ on being the first black female freediver


Going against the grain and fulfilling one’s true purpose is something Zandile Ndhlovu knows far too well. As the first black freediving instructor in South Africa, Ndhlovu’s journey has been documented on a new dynamic YouTube series titled Free Range Humans.

Ndhlovu is part of eight extraordinary people from across the world who are being profiled on the original digital content series from Corona Studios.

Believing that she’s one with the ocean despite the colour of her skin, Ndhlovu​’s passion has seen her break through cultural barriers.

“The first time I looked beneath the surface of the water something changed inside of me– I just remember feeling home in a way I’ve never felt before,”she says.

“I’ve always been awkward, I’ve always never fit in and for the first time in my life there was one place where I fit, I didn’t need to explain anything. I could just be there,” Ndhlovu tells of the day she decided to embark on her freediving journey.    

Ndhlovu first learnt that she was going to be a part of the YouTube series last year to which she was initially “surprised” that she’d be able to “live and share her truth with many people across the world”.

 “I am so incredibly… I think the word is ‘overwhelmed’. I feel so honoured especially…

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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