I was recently on a training cycle ride in the area where I live and had to wait for a traffic light before crossing the road. See the Cycle Africa Tours blog on cycling safety. A group of about six teenagers on a mix of different bicycles came up behind me, also waiting for the lights we started chatting. The group were from a school club and from one of the larger townships just outside of Cape Town. One of the teens with wide eyes said “Wow man, you have a Garmin” I could see that this was a big thing for this young guy. One, just being out on his bike with a team and two, being away from the everyday life of crime, drugs and gangs which seems to be the norm in our townships but also seeing electronics which all new cyclists dream about.
What really sparked me was the enthusiasm this group had. The group were riding a mix of old material, different clothing and normal sports shoes….and this got me thinking. I’ve been cycling for a number of years now, and in my line of business, get to meet all sorts of mainly international cyclist who come out to South Africa to then participate in one of my multi day cycling tours. These guests often leave their kit here as they need space in their luggage for souvenirs, and I get asked if I can put something to good use. With this in mind I started searching the internet for a project I could possibly help and donate kit.
Social media is well and alive. I found a posting on Face Book from a group who calls themselves the Unathi Youth Community & Development and saw that a UCY Bike Park Macassar a NPO had started. I contacted the gentleman who initiated this project Russel WIlliam’s, he was so enthusiastic and told me about the problems the children face and his mission in life to uplift the community and through sport, try and get the kids away from drugs, alcohol, prostitution and gangs. Russel told me about the different donations they had received and the help and contacts from different companies. The project right now needs containers amongst other things as you can imagine. This will create a central work place, a place to store the few bicycles they have (at the moment in Russel’s house) and a workshops. Please read a full mission statement and read about some bodies dreams to UPLIFT their community.
We would really like to help here. We spend a fortune on a GPS, buy a new bike or even ANOTHER set of cycling glasses. We take things for granted and never really appreciate what we have while children are willing to try change their lives but don’t have the means.
Cycle Africa Tours will donate a fixed amount of money for every guest per day who joins one of our cycling tours. This money will be given to Russel and his project and in a small way, try and help where we can. My long term goal would be to source an upcoming cyclist and get them trained up to conduct cycling tours, or how about taking a few of them to cycle one of the many trails in the area. In doing so, show these children that sport unites and show them the bigger picture.
If anybody would like to get involved in any way, please feel free to make contact and I will be happy to forward Russel’s contact details.