May 2021 1st edition

SA contortionist aims for global success

Written by Kgaogelo Letsebe

Thirteen-year-old Sesona Tshume from Qonce (formerly King William’s Town) in the Eastern Cape has set her sights on becoming a world-class contortionist – despite the art form not being popular in South Africa.

Sesona Tshume is twisting and turning her way to success.She is proof, that no matter your age or the challenges, you can follow your dreams.

Contortionists are able to twist their bodies into unusual postures and often become performing artists.

Sesona, a Grade 7 learner at Kingsridge High School for Girls, says her interest in contortion was sparked after she saw a YouTube video of Australian contortion twins Teagan and Samantha Rybka in 2020.

“In July, I started practising every day. This is really something I would like to do.

“When I do contortions, it makes me happy and really soothes me. I would like to be a YouTube contortionist and teach other kids,” she says.

Her mother, Zukiswa Tshume (47), says that while she always knew her daughter was extremely flexible, she was not happy with her new interest.

“I didn’t like it when she did her moves. My fear was that she would sprain her muscles or break her bones.”

In December, Sesona’s brother took a video of her, edited it, and uploaded it to a YouTube channel he had created for her.

The siblings sent the link to their mom and she was impressed with her daughter’s passion.

“She’s a determined, loving and respectful young lady. She showed me that she really loves contortion. That’s when I started to support her,” says Zukiswa.

While Sesona is working on her skills, the challenge now is finding a professional trainer to help her develop further.


“Where we are staying, there are not even gymnastics classes. The only place that was willing to help us was in East London, over 50km away, and classes are only offered on weekdays.

But Sesona is not letting any challenges get in her way and has set her sights on competing internationally.

To view Sesona’s videos on YouTube, search for Sesonathecontortionist.


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