‘The birthplace of dreams’ charts Semenya’s journey from her hometown in Limpopo to professional athlete to running coach. For over a decade, Semenya has broken records, set records, and in doing so, inspired the next generation of athletes to play more sports and achieve their goals. But rarely has she told her story, in her words.
Nike’s ‘The birthplace of dreams’ campaign is narrated by Semenya herself, and gives the audience an authentic look into her world – where her dream began and that which set the stage for her athletic journey.
The Birthplace of Dreams was conceptualised by Futura’s Executive Creative Director Gustav Greffrath and Account Director Bianca Vermaak together with Arcade Content’s Director Lebogang Rasethaba and Producer Julia Schnurr.
Semenya’s story starts in her hometown of Ga-Masehlong, a small village outside of Polokwane, in South Africa. Before she dreamed of being an 800m athlete, Semenya played football. ‘I played under 14. Most people came to see me play, and how I played, because they know I’m a girl. I was fast and I played a fast game.’
Semenya realised her talent from an early age, and this talent was nurtured by her family, whom she attributes most of her success to. ‘Positivity comes from where you’re coming from. How you’re raised, the love that you get from your family and their belief in you. If people believe in you, you’ll always be positive, you’ll be a believer,’ she said.
Her solid support structure and natural talent propelled the athlete into her track and field career where she has inspired the world. The support that she received is the driving force behind Semenya and she’s paying it forward by inspiring the next generation of athletes.
In 2018, Semenya together with her wife, Violet, and close friend, Koketso Mogapi, started her own development club, the Masai Athletics Club. The club operates in Pretoria and Soweto and aims to find young athletes on a grassroots level and developing that talent to become the next running stars. To date, the club has over 60 young aspiring athletes competing in some of South Africa’s top running competitions.
Through the film, we get to see Semenya’s passion to instil a sense of belonging, family and inspiration for the next generation of athletes. Said Semenya, ‘We want to build a human before we can build an athlete, before we can build a leader.’