Meet Sesona Tshume, a self-taught Gqeberha contortionist

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Sesona doing her moves.
Sesona doing her moves.

Most people cannot even do a split, let alone bend over backwards and twist their bodies into different positions.

Yet a Gqeberha teenager used her spare time teaching herself how to be a contortionist.

Sesona Tshuma (15) is a self-taught contortionist who only started because she was bored during hard lockdown in 2020.

“We could not go to school, and I was watching videos of random things on YouTube when I came across videos of other girls bending their bodies into weird shapes.

“At the time, I did not know what a contortionist was, but because I knew I was flexible, I thought I should try it and I did the different moves. Before then, I had never done any kind of specialized dance training like ballet or even gymnastics,” the young Sesona tells Drum.

Since she started in 2020, she has entered many competitions which she won and started doing gymnastics classes.

Her mother, Zukiswa, could not be prouder of her little girl.

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She too did not know what a contortionist is or what they do and so she was upset when she saw the first video of Sesona trying out her new hobby.

“She was here in Gqeberha for holidays, and we were still staying in King William’s Town. She sent me a video. I was puzzled and cross at the same time. I thought she was going to strain her back. I asked her not to do that again, but she continued. When she came back from holidays, she did these body bending moves, and I could see that she’s flexible. That’s when I decided to support her.

“I Googled because she told me the names of the people that she followed on YouTube, Sofie Dossi, Anna McNulty and the Rybka Twins. I knew nothing about these girls before. I don’t even know how she knew about them and the word ‘contortion’.”

Sesona doing her moves.
Sesona doing her moves.
Sesona doing her moves.
Sesona doing her moves.
Sesona doing her moves.

Zukiswa says it is important for parents to support their children even if they themselves do not understand what they children want to do.

“It is important to let them follow their heart for as long as they are not breaking the law. If it’s their passion, let them do it. Their passion keeps them busy. They focus on it and get distracted from doing the wrong thing. If we don’t allow them, they will do what their friends are doing. Remember, kids always want to belong. So if don’t allow them to be themselves, they might fall prey to what their friends do.”

Sesona, who is in grade 9, has never even left the Eastern Cape and now she has an opportunity to compete in Amsterdam from 30 July to 5 August.

“I am very excited,” says Sesona while her mother is focused on raising funds for the trip.

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“She must focus on the talent and I will focus on the money. My friends and colleagues have advised me to join the crowd-funding initiatives. Also, I’m planning to sell raffles. I’ll buy something that will be a prize for my raffles. I’m still undecided on what the prize should be and the cost for each ticket.”

Zukiswa says the trip costs R40 000, excluding the tracksuit, t-shirts and tights.

“I’ve already paid a R16 000 deposit. I still owe R24 000. I still need to buy the above merchandise, as prescribed by Gymnastics South Africa.”

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