BIKERS TO RIDE ACROSS AFRICA
Menstrual health and gender-based violence education top of their list
SIX local bikers are going on a road trip from South Africa to Tanzania for a good cause.
The six: Sarel Nong, Neo M Matsunyane, Tawanda Chatikobo, Motshwane Mabogoane, Thabo Mojapelo and Victor Magoro will take a 10-day ride to the highest peak in Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro – in an effort to summit.
But before they tackle the mountain, they first want to go through several countries and educate and deliver a message to communities on menstrual health and abuse of women.
The bikers are planning to roar through Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and finally stopping in Tanzania.
They will arrive in the East African state three days before the Trek4Mandela team go on their expedition on July 14.
They also plan to summit Kilimanjaro with the team and fly back with them.
The team said while they aimed to speak to communities about menstrual health, they would also raise the issue of femicide because of the number of gruesome killings of women recently.
For Nong, this has been a lifelong dream. His love of bikes started when he was in high school at Pax College outside Polokwane.
This led him to co-found what has now become the biggest biking club in Africa – Sapa Yopa.
“I have been doing a lot of charity work around Limpopo and the opportunity to join the trek team was amazing,” Nong said.
Film-maker Matsunyane said going up “Kili” had always been something he wanted to do. “We decided the best way for us to do this is to ride to Tanzania instead of flying there.
“We want to go to the small towns and speak to the men of all the nations that we come across about gender-based violence, and try to find answers from an African-centred experience. I believe abuse is a very un-African thing to do,” Matsunyane said.
Mabogoane said riding for a good cause was one of the things that had brought the team together.
“We are riders, but at the core of it we want to help communities in need.
“We hope that by speaking to communities across the continent, we will be able to change attitudes around woman abuse and the other struggles young women and children go through.”
Chatikobo said although they were all physically fit, they have had to intensify their training regime, especially mental wellness.
“We all started training specifically for this in November last year. I am the fittest I have been in 10 years. From a fitness perspective we are great and in terms of mental readiness, we are ready.
“The way I see it, climbing a mountain is physically challenging but it is also important to have sound mental health,” he said.
“Riding a bike requires you to be mentally fit. You are sitting down but you need to concentrate for six to seven hours at a time…
“Through all kinds of conditions – rain, sun, day and night, gravel and traffic, bikers tend to be mentally fit because they have to.”
Trek4Mandela inspired us to deliver a message
READY TO ROLL: These are the ambassadors travelling to Tanzania on motorcycles in July to later summit Kilimanjaro with campaigners from #Trek4Mandela, #Caring4Girls and #Keepingagirlchildinschool. Tawanda Chatikobo, left, Motshwane Mabogoane, Sarel Nong, Victor Magoro, Neo M Matsunyane and Thabo Mojapelo.
MOUNTAINEERING: Neo M Matsunyane and Victor Magoro.
IN TRAINING: Tawanda Chatikobo and Sarel Nong.