Many associate jumping rope with a children’s game or a great source of cardio. Very few relate it to a competitive sport. For Keolebogile Mokolopo, it is her gift. She’s held a national record for Double Team gold medalist at the Canada World Championships since 2006, and is a coach, facilitator and judge of rope skipping. In 2008, Mokolopo became Demand Coordinator of Sasol Sport Development Programs, where she began holding rope skipping clinics for the children of a community in South Africa. This small gesture of organizing an athletic activity worked wonders for the kids involved. “Kids that do sports are well behaved,” Mokolopo says in a Sasol promotional video. “It teaches them discipline—they are busy doing something different instead of being on the streets and it’s good for them. The clinics and the rope skipping since I’ve started it has uplifted the community in a very, very big way.”
Through Sasol, the children are given the opportunity to channel their energy in healthy ways, travel and become exposed to different cultures. It wasn’t long before the Rize Up Skippers team was born. Through the years and Mokolopo’s leadership, the team expanded from five members to 35 members. Last year as a rope skipper Mokolopo won silver and bronze at the World Jump Rope Championships in Orlando, Florida. Along with teammates Sonopo Tshilwane, Mbali Nyundu and Amanda Msongelwa she bested nearly 800 competitors across more than 30 countries, placing third in her Single Rope Freestyle event and second in the individual three-minutes speed category. It was the second consecutive World Championship in a row that South Africa’s jumpers brought home medals. As a coach, she also brought her Rize Up Skippers all the way to the championships. Across the board, for the communities touched by Keolebogile Mokolopo’s work, the advancement of future generations is just a hop, skip and a jump away.