Multi-talented journalist and sportsperson Palesa Manaleng received the Journalist of the Year Award in Gauteng at the Gauteng Sports Awards over the weekend.
Palesa ‘Deejay’ Manaleng. Picture: University of Johannesburg
SOSHANGUVE – Eyewitness News digital writer Palesa “Deejay” Manaleng has been awarded the Sports Journalist of the Year award at the Gauteng Sports Awards.
Manaleng’s stories focus almost exclusively on women and people with disabilities in sporting fraternities, topics that are often overlooked in mainstream media. In them, she highlights South Africa’s record holders and breakers in various disciplines, including basketball, swimming, racing and boxing.
The event took place on Saturday at the Tshwane University of Technology in Soshanguve.
Manaleng is a decorated para-athlete herself, having won a number of titles. Sporting codes she has taken up include hockey, soccer, tennis, weight lifting, running races, rowing, and swimming throughout her life.
Manaleng represented South Africa in two para-cycling World Cups, one in 2015, and the other in 2016. She has competed in a number of national competitions, and was the hand cycling national champion from 2015 to 2021, as well as national track champion from 2015 to 2017.
Deejay has represented South Africa in three cycling world championships, and ranked 8th in the world for the sport.
In 2022, Manaleng won gold at the national championships for powerlifting in the 86+kg category.
Outside of her competitions, Manaleng has cycled from Pretoria to Cape Town as part of an OCAL Global project to highlight conversations about disability and to raise funds for children living with disabilities. She has also been awarded the Ministerial Recognition Award at the GSport Awards.
The University of Johannesburg graduate was in 2019 named one of Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans for sport and her work in journalism. In 2017, Manaleng was shortlisted by the Miles Morland Foundation as one of the top 21 writers in Africa.
While canvassing for sport and a change in conversations in the media about people with disabilities, Manaleng is an ardent activist for issues affecting the LGBTQI+ community.
Manaleng was not born with her disabilities.
Always active, Manaleng was in a road cycling accident in 2014, which left her a complete paraplegic. During her recovery time in hospital, she watched videos of people in wheelchairs competing in sports and worked to continue her passion.
Manaleng currently has her sights set on swimming the Midmar Mile soon.