BIK­ERS TO RIDE ACROSS AFRICA

Men­strual health and gen­der-based vi­o­lence ed­u­ca­tion top of their list

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - TEBOGO MONAMA tebogo.monama@inl.co.za

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.

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