Durban here we come!
OVER 35 cyclists from Joburg and Soweto, all Grade 11 pupils, embarked yesterday on the 20th annual 750km CycAlive relay bicycle ride from the Nelson Mandela Centre in Houghton to Durban
CycAlive was the first project to be adopted as part of the Nelson Mandela Day calendar.
The cyclists, who left yesterday, are from Moletsane High School and Pace Commercial Secondary School in Soweto, Torah Academy in Orchards, a few Orange Farm schools – a project of Afrika Tikkun – as well as five Israeli schoolchildren from Partnership2Gether.
The riders were given a rousing send-off to the beat of the Springs Field Band and the roar of the Steelwings and Rolling Thunder motorcyclists.
Rabbi Dovid Hazdan, dean of Torah Academy and CycAlive initiator, said 1998 had been a new dawn in a brave new country.
“We wanted to do something that would mesmerise.”
Rabbi Yossi Chaikin, principal of the Torah Academy Boys’ High School, read a prayer for the success of the trip, including a plea for road safety.
Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein said CycAlive showed what South Africa could do towards nation-building.
“We have all come together in a spirit of unity. The beauty and magnificence happening today is the real South Africa – the cyclists will ride in a spirit of optimism and hope.”
Rabbi Reuven Finkelstein, one of the original CycAlive participants in 1998, termed CycAlive “Twenty years of bridgebuilding activity among people from different communities”.
“You have the ability to change the face of South Africa for the good,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the event sponsors, Arnold Friedman told the cyclists that they were an inspiration. The upbeat mood was shared by the cyclists themselves.
Sthembiso Mabizela, from Pace Commercial Secondary School, who had not been to the beach before, said he believed there was more to explore.
“I have ridden a bicycle since I was a little kid, but have only ridden short distances.”
Sifiso Moncho, who attends the Mphethi Mahlatsi Secondary School in Orange Farm and the Afrika Tikkun Arekopaneng Centre there, has also not seen the sea.
“I learnt to ride at the Afrika Tikkun Centre in Orange Farm. I am excited and full of joy. I am looking forward to the ride to experience what it is about.”
Cyclist Yehuda Goldberg, from Torah Academy, said CycAlive had the potential to be a life-changing experience.
“It has many great aspects to it, such as inspiring ubuntu, the ability to build bridges and form bonds between young South Africans and their respective communities.”
Principals, teachers and a team of medics are accompanying the pupils.
They are due in Durban on August 10.
ON THEIR WAY: Some of the 35 cyclists who embarked on the 20th annual 750km CycAlive relay bicycle ride from Johannesburg to Durban.