Zola Budd completed her BA through Unisa in 2002.


In the township slang of mid-1980s South Africa, ‘Zola Budd’ described a fast-moving minibus taxi. It was a curious tribute to the white, teenage, middle-distance athlete from Bloemfontein who ran barefoot, shattering records and becoming “the hottest property in world athletics”. Zola Budd was barred from international competitions — the sports boycott against apartheid South Africa was underway. However, a campaign by British tabloid The Daily Mail ushered her to a British passport that would permit her to represent Great Britain in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Her legendary 3,000-metre race against her idol, “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Decker, lives in popular memory; Budd suffered a dramatic collision with Decker, and her Olympic hopes ended amid booing from a hostile crowd. Budd continued running for Britain but returned home in 1988 and competed for South Africa at the 1992 Olympics. Today Budd lives in the US, coaching and still competing.