Dur­ban here we come!

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

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