“You’ve got to be the driver of your life.” This is what Gugu Zulu had to say to radio host Sam Cowen during an interview for her podcast series on Talk Radio 702.
Cowen interviewed the race car driver a few months back for her podcast series The Adventures. It was a perfect match for Zulu, who together with his wife Letshego, dubbed themselves the ‘adventure couple.’
Zulu said that his dream of becoming a driver started when he was six-years-old.
“The whole journey started at probably the age of six. That sounds very young. My mom said that at the age of six she used to ask me: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ And according to her my answer at the time was just that I want to be a driver.”
He says that growing up in Apartheid South Africa and later determined to achieve his dreams in a fresh democracy, the odds were against him.
“My friends used to laugh at me and say it would never happen. You (I) was the biggest joke ever.”
Speaking about his journey and all of the obstacles that he faced, Zulu said that he was fortunate to have a family that supported his dreams.
“My dad watched every single one of my races. We were in Soweto and by that time I started racing we had moved out but he was always there,” he said.
Giving up a well-paying corporate job, Zulu opened up about the budget issues that he was faced with, explaining that funding is always an issue. “It’s a bottomless pit where you are basically throwing money into.”
Despite the challenges, Zulu was determined to beat the odds and live his best life.
“In life you cannot be a passenger. You need to be the driver of your own life. For me, I set a goal for myself and worked very hard to achieve it. I made sure that I lived my dream.”
Zulu died while part of an expedition on Mount Kilimanjaro. Project leader for the Trek4Mandela expedition, Richard Mabaso, said that Zulu had been experiencing flu-like symptoms and was taken to a hospital after his breathing become heavy.
His wife Letshego was with him during his final moments.