Artwell Mandaza

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Artwell Mandaza
Artwell Mandaza.jpg
BornArtwell Mandaza
(1946-01-04)January 4, 1946
DiedOctober 21, 2019(2019-10-21) (aged 73)
ChildrenDurai Mandaza

Artwell Mandaza was a Zimbabwean athelete. He is most known having been the first black person South of the Equator to run 100 metre in 9.9 seconds in in Welkom, South Africa in 1970. The 9.9 seconds made him the fastest person in the world that year. His record was however disallowed due to excess wind speeds. He died in October 2019.

Backround Career

Mandaza did not take athletics seriously until he was 20 at Mangula. He was coached by Dave Klinker.[1]

Mandaza started his athletics career at Mhangura Mine (then called Mangula Mine) in the 60s. He was employed there as a cashier.[1]

On 28 June 1969 he became the fastest man in Rhodesian athletics history at the Salisbury Police cinder-track when he won a 100 metre race on 10.3 seconds. He broke Johan du Preez's six-year-old Rhodesian record of 10,5 seconds. On the same day, he also broke another Rhodesian record in the 400 metres category. [1]

In May 1970 he won a 100-metre race in a record-equalling 9.9 seconds in a semifinal at the South African Bantu championships at Welkom, South Africa. The record was disallowed because of wind assistance of 4,27 metres per second (2 m is the maximum allowed), but after clocking 10,3 sec in an earlier heat he won the final in a legal 10,2 sec.[1]

In 1970, Mandaza competed in the Chamber of Mines championships at Gath's Mine, Mashaba. He broke four records and won the 6 events he participated in.[1]

In October 1970 he was named Sportsman of the Year in Southern Rhodesia and was the first black person to take the title.[1]

Mandaza never competed in the Olympic Games because Rhodesia was barred from the Olympics during that time. He died on 21 October 2019. He lived at his rural home in Chiweshe.[1]

In 1971, Mandaza traveled to West Germany for six weeks for a special coaching course. [1]

In 1972 he was the only Rhodesian athlete to reach the Olympic qualifying mark for the Munich Games of 10,2 sec. for the 100 metres and 20,9 sec. for the 200 metres. He traveled to Munich but Rhodesia was excluded from the Games on the eve of the competition after a vote by the International Olympic Committee. Rhodesia was excluded due to its political problems at the time. The Rhodesian contingent was forced to sit in the stands and watch.[1]

After retiring Mandaza coached athletes for the 1984 and 1988 Olympics team for Zimbabwe.

Best Performances

Artwell Mandaza


  • 100m: 10,04
  • 20Om; n/a
  • 400m: 47,7


  • 100m: 10,3
  • 20Om: 21,6
  • 400m: 47,0


  • 100m: 10,2
  • 20Om: 20,09
  • 400m: 46,8


  • 100m: 10,03
  • 20Om: 20,9
  • 400m: 47,1


  • 100m: 10,03
  • 20Om: 20,08
  • 400m: n/a

National Championships

  • 100 m — 1966, 1967, 1971, 1972.
  • 400 m — 1969.
  • 200 m hurdles — 1966, 1967.
  • 400 m hurdles — 1967.

National Records

  • 100 m — 10, 3 sec. in 1969.
  • 200 m — 20,8 sec. in 1972 (also equalled all-comers).
  • 400 m — 46,8 sec. in 1970 (broken by Adon Treva in 1972 with 46, 2 sec.).
  • 400 m hurdles — 52,18 sec. in 1976.

World Rankings

  • Six occasions Mandaza has been ranked among the world's top 100:
  • 1969 — 100 m in 10,3 sec. (joint 44th).
  • 1970 — 100 m in 10,2 sec. (joint 11th); 200 m in 20,9 sec. (joint 78th).
  • 1971 — 100 m in 10,3 sec. (joint 49th); 200 m in 20,9 sec. (joint 78th).
  • 1972 — 200 m in 20,8 sec. (joint 66th).

Personal Life

Mandaza’s wife passed away in 2015, a few months after he had recovered from a stroke that incapacitated him for almost two years.

Mandaza died on 21 October 2019. He had been facing financial and health problems for several years prior to his death.

In an interview with the Sunday Mail Mandaza said that people had the misconception that he had spent his fortune recklessly and yet the truth is that he had received little from victories in athletics participation for the Rhodesia:

I am now being lampooned for being a former champion. Ane chii manje iye akamhanya kudaro (what does he have given his past achievements)? people ask sarcastically. People think I blew the money I earned as an athlete yet the truth is that we competed for peanuts. I participated and won numerous international races in Germany and South Africa but I only got a pat on the back. The white administrators back then, took all the prize monies.”[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Artwell Mandaza, Rhodesian Sports Profiles, Published: 13 Nov 2012, Accessed: 21 Oct 2019
  2. After the applause, legend Mandaza sings the blues, The Sunday Mail, Published: 11 Mar 2018, Accessed:21 Oct 2019