“Yes a lot! It has also encouraged other females to go and have themselves checked as endometriosis is often misdiagnosed,” says Merushka Aroonslam.
The 17 year-old was talking about how her fundraising for an operation she has to do this Thursday, has opened the eyes of other women who might be living with the condition.
Endometriosis results from the appearance of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, which causes pelvic pain. Although the Lawson Brown High School pupil was diagnosed last October, she has been lived with the disease for three years now. She has been fundraising for her surgery since January, managing to draw a small crowd of people who are actively helping her raise the funds, under the hashtag #EndoTreatment4Merushka. Her supporters sell food, stickers, t-shirts and wash cars.
The hashtag has built much steam thanks to her fame as a car spinner. Aroonslam was on the verge of selling her pink and black new era Nissan Skyline with a 2.8 (L28) motor, to raise funds for her operation but fortunately she didn’t.
“Spinning, motorsports and cars has been part of my life since a young age and I’ve always had a passion for it as my dad use to do it back in his days when it was still illegal. Spinning is a sport that once the bug bites, there’s no turning back.”
The girl from Port Elizabeth wants the operation done so that she can go back to her life of spinning, which has become a catharsis for her. “A rush of emotions and adrenaline, you feel completely free and it’s a way for me to de-stress and just leave all my problems on the pitch,” she says describing the feeling she gets from spinning.
She regularly does her thing at Wheelz n Smoke events, under the SPINderella female banner. She began spinning in 2017.
The surgery is set to take place at St. George’s Hospital, at the cost of R55 000 for a 2-hour treatment. But could cost more if the procedure takes longer. “We close to our target but we haven’t quite reached it yet.”
Aroonslam is currently in matric and she sometimes misses school due to the severity of the pain. “It’s my second operation but I’m still very scared and nervous. I don’t think you can ever get used to it.”
THE sight of a woman spinning a BMW 325i can be quite intimidating for a number of grown ass men. But thank goodness that hasn’t prevented Angel Beautyspot from burning the tyres of a Gusheshe in clouds of smoke, all in the name of fun.
“People would say ng’thanda izinto and some would think I’m into this game because I want attention from guys…and some look at me with those eyes that say ‘she thinks she’s better’,” says Angela Beautyspot.
Having grown up in the township myself, I’ve witnessed spinning by thungs at funerals or in celebration after a big score. Hence there’s a stigma attached to the sport, which is coupled with huge misunderstanding of what it really entails. “Whenever you mention an event, old people will just say ‘no, please leave the kids behind because they’ll get hurt’. And that’s not the case…things have changed. Spinning is an amazing sport, not a game for thugs, I just hope spinning can be recognised and people be open minded about it,” 30 year-old Angel Beautyspot says. She will be one of the spinners tomorrow at Wheelz ‘n Smoke’s event that celebrates women in car spinning, fittingly dubbed SPINderella.
The Kwa Mahlanga lady was introduced to the sport by uncles and friends four years ago, but only started participating this year.
The event is organised the Wheelz ‘n Smoke Company, which hosts weekly car spinning sessions on Thursdays on the South of Joburg. SPINderella takes place during a time when Women’s issues are under the spotlight, as it is Women’s Month and females such as Angela Beautyspot get scrutinized and looked at funny for their pure desire of wanting to spin cars.
“National Women’s Day draws attention to significant issues South African women still face, such as inequality in society, the workplace, politics, as well as in sports. The SPINderella programme is one of the many ways in which we aim to eradicate this issue of inequality, by representing women who still aren’t recognised in the motorsport space,” says Wheelz ‘n Smoke co-founder Ayanda Mbele.
One of Wheelz ‘n Smoke’s crowd favourites is Stacey Lee May who has been doing this for a number of years now. “Women such as Stacey Lee May, Tina Rossouw and Felicia Van Staden are pushing boundaries in spinning and making their mark. Therefore as leaders in the spinning industry, we want to celebrate these women who have contributed to the growth of female spinning and encourage more girls and women to take part in this growing extreme sport,” adds Mbele.
The event has the backing of Motorsports South Africa (MSA), the governing body of four-wheel motorsport; who also have a social responsibility commitment to improve the future of women in motorsport. Together with its sponsors and supporters, Wheelz ‘n Smoke hopes to raise awareness on the importance of women in motorsport and create a sports culture that facilitates and values their full participation.
The SPINderella event is set to take place tomorrow at the Wheelz ‘n Smoke Arena, from 12 pm till late.