Thou­sands Walk the Talk for anti-cru­elty

Walk­ers choose their dis­tances in pop­u­lar an­nual event

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - AYANDA NT­SHANGASE

CLOSE TO 60 000 en­thu­si­as­tic Joburg­ers de­scended on Em­mar­en­tia Dam to take part in the an­nual MTN Walk the Talk with 702 event.

Dogs, adults and chil­dren were all part of the fun at the world’s largest walk­ing event that is in its 16th year.

Par­ents pushed their tod­dlers in prams and oth­ers walked, joined in the fun by Joburg mayor Her­man Mashaba, Pre­mier David Makhura, celebri­ties and MECs.

Sandile Nzama, who is in a wheel­chair, com­pleted the 5km route with three col­leagues. He said: “I have not pushed my­self for a long time and I want to start ex­er­cis­ing more.”

Nzama added that it was his first Walk the Talk, but he will come back next year and hopes more dis­abled peo­ple will join him.

Ra­dio 702 and its head­line spon­sors MTN are ex­cited about the growth of the event, at­tract­ing a cos­mopoli­tan crowd each year for its three cat­e­gories – the five, eight and 15-kilo­me­tre walks.

“The event has grown into the largest mass par­tic­i­pa­tion walk of its kind and is known to cel­e­brate the di­ver­sity and beauty of Joburg,” said Pippa Rowles, 702 PR man­ager.

“It was a great suc­cess, with over 50 000 walk­ers, and a num­ber of dig­ni­taries joined us. Peo­ple came from dif­fer­ent parts of Gaut­eng, from dif­fer­ent back­grounds, and it all ended with a great cel­e­bra­tory per­for­mance by the award-win­ning Mafik­i­zolo,” she said.

Some of the par­tic­i­pants walk­ing with their dogs said this was not their first walk and they par­tic­i­pated to make the pub­lic aware of the work done by the So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals (SPCA).

Zach Booy­sens, who was walk­ing with his two dogs, said this was his seventh year of tak­ing part. He walks ev­ery year to sup­port the SPCA against an­i­mal abuse.

This year also had a spe­cial fo­cus on 20 years of democ­racy and nearly 17 000 walk­ers chose to walk 15km, to cel­e­brate this mile­stone in our coun­try’s his­tory.

At each kilo­me­tre mark, the City of Joburg placed beau­ti­ful im­ages of mem­o­rable events from each of the 20 years of the demo­cratic tran­si­tion.

El­iz­a­beth Pane, who was one of the par­tic­i­pants from Katle­hong, said that she walked 15km through the city with 14 000 other peo­ple.

The 64-year-old Pane added that the par­tic­i­pants she met were in­ter­est­ing and in­spir­ing, and that she feels energised af­ter the walk. This is the third year she had taken part.

“I am tired, but I am mo­ti­vated by what I have ex­pe­ri­enced here to­day,” she said.

Many walk­ers used the event as a plat­form to raise aware­ness for causes and came to­gether in vi­brant cos­tumes or match­ing out­fits. Oth­ers used it for team build­ing with work col­leagues and friends.

Bon­gani Yende and his friends stated that they were do­ing the walk to raise aware­ness of the mur­der of women and chil­dren, which has been in the news of late.

“While Bon­gani is do­ing the MTN Walk the Talk, I am walk­ing against the killing of women and chil­dren,” Yende said.

Or­gan­is­ers of Walk the Talk, 702 and MTN, said they were ex­tremely pleased with the turnout and that the event had gone smoothly.

SUP­PORT­ING THE SPCA: Thou­sands of peo­ple, and many dogs, took part in the an­nual Walk the Talk event in Joburg yes­ter­day.

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT: Par­tic­i­pants could choose be­tween a five, eight or 15-kilo­me­tre walk.

WALK OF CEL­E­BRA­TION: For many, the event was a fun-filled day in the sun.

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