Picture an image of a world class powerlifter in your mind. Most people will imagine somebody that looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Žydrūnas Savickas or Usain Bolt. Stop. Now use Photoshop in your mind and start changing the picture. Change the image to a female; 1.48 mitre tall; weighing 46 kilograms. Stop. Now imagine her deadlifting a 120 kilograms. Does it become more difficult to imagine? Now change the focus, imagine her as an academic, a chartered accountant and registered auditor.
This is the incredible Ms Mariska McKenzie, a University of Johannesburg (UJ) academic good in the lecture hall and also in powerlifting. After the recent SA Classic Powerlifting Championships in Potchefstroom, McKenzie was selected to represent South Africa at the IPF Classic Powerlifting championship in Finland from 5 to 14 June 2015. Approximately 493 second year and 638 third year chartered accountancy students at UJ know her as their Financial Management Lecturer.
She is a Research Supervisor for some of the UJ Master’s degree students in the Department of Accountancy. McKenzie’s own research interests lie in exploring the financial and non-financial costs of businesses that are in financial distress.
She won a gold medal in the 47kg category for women in the open category at the SA Classic Powerlifting Championship on Friday, 27 March 2015.
“I started preparing for my first Powerlifting competition in May 2014 and I never knew that I had any athletic abilities before then. Prior to competing in powerlifting, my biggest achievement in sports was competing in the 60-metre sprint as a grade 1 pupil,” says McKenzie.
She adds: “Through God’s grace, I wish to use my talents and opportunities, to inspire other women and the youth to be strong from an intellectual, physical and mental perspective. I would like to encourage people to follow their dreams, even though everything may appear to be impossible at any given point in time.”
McKenzie believes that the following aspects are the ingredients to making dreams come true:
McKenzie will be participating on the 11th.