Social Investment 7 East Londoners take on the Iron Man to raise funds for...

7 East Londoners take on the Iron Man to raise funds for 10 year old Amputee

Ubuko Mpotulo (10), from East London, was diagnosed with Meningococcal Septicaemia, at the age of 3 years old. Ubuko underwent a Bi-Lateral Amputation and finger amputation when the lining of his blood vessels became damaged and obstructed his narrow arteries and eventually cut off his blood supply.



Despite coming from a disadvantaged background, Ubuko has been awarded a Bursary to attend Selborne Primary in East London. Upon meeting him, educators and the governing body saw his resilience and perseverance shine through his Disability.

Ubuko’s disposition has also captured the hearts of his medical team.

“I finally met Ubuko and those of you who have had the privilege to meet him will understand that he only has to look at you once and you are done, the mischievous smile and determination in his eyes caught my heartstrings.” – says prosthetics specialist in East London, Marissa Nel, who has personally committed, jointly with Ossur, to cover Ubuko’s medical costs that are amount to about R148 000 a year.

Until Ubuko turns 18, his prosthetic sockets will need to be refitted and changed at least 14 to 16 times until he stops growing. Unfortunately, this will still be a long-term struggle for him.

According to Nel, because Ubuko is growing, his socket will likely need to be changed in the next 6 to 8 months. He will then require alignment adjustments and replacement of some of his prosthetic parts.

East London’s Ubuko Mpotulo in his school uniform. Photo:

Ubuko has also inspired a group of 7 Round Tablers from East London, who have decided to take on the Ironman 70.3 challenge on the 27 January 2019. The Round Tablers will be racing to contribute towards Ubuko’s ongoing medical costs, through a campaign launched on donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy.

“Ubuko’s character and perseverance to improve himself are unmatched. He isn’t simply adapting to his prosthetics, he has relished the opportunity to seize his moment and make it count. Not only has he taken each step in his progress with enthusiasm, he has flourished.” Says Round Tabler, Ryan Baisley (37).

For the past 6 months, the team met 3 to 4 times a week. Starting at 4 am, to do triathlon specific training to prepare for one of the toughest endurance events. The event, organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), consists of a 3.86 km swim, 180.25 km bicycle ride and 42.20 km marathon without breaks.

“Out of the 7 athletes competing, 4 are novices to the Triathlon world and many of us started off as being really unfit. On the days when our legs were in pain from 60km cycle sessions into blistering hot headwind, we would remind ourselves how Ubuko feels every day and the discomfort he has lived with his whole life.” – says Baisley.

Ubuko Mpotulo (10) with Prosthetics specialist, Marissa Nel. Photo:

To wish the team luck, Ubuko will meet the whole team, many for the first time, at the Ironman Expo. Which is where he will also have an opportunity to view the latest triathlon gear, equipment and experience the exhibition before the event takes place.

“We hope the public will continue to support our BackaBuddy campaign. We may not be able to change the entire world, but by trying to change Ubuko’s world, we might make a difference in his life that inspires him to pay it forward to the next person that deserves it.” – says Baisley

The BackaBuddy campaign went live on the 15 of January 2019 and has thus far raised R 13 166.78 with contributions from 24 donors towards the fundraising target of R50 000.

Support Ubuko by donating on BackaBuddy here: or on the

Funds raised will be managed by Round Table from East London and used for Ubuko’s ongoing medical procedures.

Meet the Round Tablers:
Jethro Penny (34)
Toby Nzuza (37)
Daryan Rowe (33)
Warren Bigara (28)
Ruan Jordaan (31)
Bazil Frewen (33)
Ryan Baisley (37)

About BackaBuddy:
– BackaBuddy is a proudly South African crowdfunding platform where individuals have the opportunity to raise funds for causes they feel passionate about.
– BackaBuddy has raised over R90.4 million for various charities, individuals and causes across South Africa.
– Website:
– Facebook: