Road to Tokyo
African para athlete Mpumelelo Mhlongo represented South Africa in the Rio 2016 Paralympic games in the long jump and 100m events, narrowly missing the podium in both. Aiming to go one-step further in Tokyo 2020, Mustard is working to help Mpumi use his journey to put a deserved global spotlight on Africa’s indomitable para athletic talent.
A para athlete and world record holder against the odds, Mpumelelo Mhlongo (Mpumi) was determined to use any momentum he could gather on his way to the Tokyo Olympics, to bring attention to the reservoir of world-class talent in African para athletics, and the continent's hidden disabled beyond 2020.
"The story is that there are 80 million people living in Africa with physical and/or intellectual disabilities according to the UN. That’s more than the number of people living in the UK, and approximately the population of Germany. The story is that these sons, daughters, brothers and sisters of ours, who – due to their impairments – are the most vulnerable in society, make up the very poorest, least educated and most stigmatised in Africa. They are the subclass in the continent we perceive to be the poorest on earth. The unluckiest will become ‘the institutionalised’ and beaten, and most of those called lucky will be ‘the homebound’, the ‘cursed’, the forgotten." - Mpumelelo Mhlongo
Mpumi approached Mustard to help him capture and craft his story from the ground up, as he prepared for his ambitious road to Tokyo. Mpumi had an ambition to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games not just for his own success, but to show the potential of Africa’s para athletes and its many disabled living as a subclass on the continent. We worked with Mpumi to understand the broader disability landscape and his potential audience, and then crafted a relevant and genuine message, which we believed could initially propagate on a limited budget.
"Parathlete Mpumelelo Mhlongo is on track to break records and stereotypes. He started the Mpumi2020 campaign to highlight the plight faced by disabled people in Africa. Every time he lines up to compete, there’s that kid at the end of the finish line counting on him to power through." / Men's Health