Allison Cooper writes for Saffa Mag.
Mention the words barefoot Olympian athlete and Mary Slaney (née Decker) and you would be talking about non other than Zola Budd Pieterse – synonymous with not only breaking various world records, but also with SA’s fast-moving minibus taxis.
“There goes a Zola Budd,” was a phrase often heard in SA, becoming so popular that SA’s late ‘queen of pop’, Brenda Fassie, even wrote a song about it. “I’m still very proud of ‘Zola Budds’. It just showed that despite the political situation in SA, people still appreciated my running ability. It didn’t matter what my skin colour was,” says Zola, who moved back home to SA from the US in 2021.
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