Volkswagen and Barons lend a helping hand to Unogwaja
VOLKSWAGEN Commercial Vehicles and one of its dealer franchises, Barons Volkswagen (Division of Barloworld Group) will provide six support vehicles — four Amarok Double Cabs, a Transporter Crew Bus and Transporter Panel Van — for the 2015 Unogwaja Challenge.
The Unogwaja Challenge, now entering its fifth year, will start on 21 May, 2015, in Cape Town and end in Pietermaritzburg 10 days later. This year’s Challenge has 11 local and international cyclists riding over 1 700 km and then running the famous 89 km Comrades, the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg on 31 May, 2015.
According to the founding member of Unogwaja, John McInroy, the inspiration to cycle over 1 700 km and then run 89 km ultramarathon is a tribute to Phil Masterton-Smith, nicknamed “Unogwaja” or “Hare” in Zulu. Phil, the youngest ever Comrades winner, completed this feat in 1933 when he could not afford the train fare to get to the start of the Comrades.
“This demonstration of one man’s determination and commitment has inspired a movement … to nourish hope and facilitate empowerment in South Africa” said John.
On partnership with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Barons Volkswagen, John said: “This is massive for our journey and could not have come at a better time. Not only do we have six top-class vehicles which will help us significantly on the road, but we have formed a meaningful partnership with one of the most forward-thinking brands in our country who believe and support our vision. I could not be more excited. The greatest way we can show our gratitude to Volkswagen and Barons is through progressing the impact of our mission: to be the agents of hope and meaningful change in our beautiful country.” Last year the Unogwaja Challenge raised over R1,2 million for charity and this year have set the target at an ambitious R2 million. One of the main aims of the Challenge is to raise funds for chosen charities.
Jaco Steenekamp, general manager: sales and marketing of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles said, “The responsibility for positive change lies with each and every one of us and it can only be realised through determined action in any way we can. Volkswagen has always been about people, and our commercial vehicles specifically are always up for a tough challenge so partnership with the Unogwaja Challenge is a perfect fit.”
Brett Rowlands, franchise executive at Barloworld Motor Retail responsible for Barons in the Western Cape, mirrors these sentiments: “Barons prides itself on being ‘The Volkswagen People’ so this remarkable story resonates with our company values. We are looking forward to supporting John and his team during this inspirational journey and wish to enable them to focus their energies on their important social mission.”
From left: John McInroy, founding member of Unogwaja Challenge, Sharlene Graham, dealer principal at Barons Volkswagen Tokai and Riyaaz Slarmie, sales manager at Barons Tokai.