Unogwaja cyclists get a rousing welcome
GRAAFF-REINET — On Sunday morning, cyclists participating in the Unogwaja Challenge, made their way into Graaff-reinet. The Unogwaja challengers started their journey in Cape Town on Thursday, 31 May, bound for Pietermaritzburg via the Karoo, Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-natal. This 10-day, 1 660km cycle from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg to take part in the Comrades Marathon on the 11th day is a journey of the heart inspired by Phil Masterton-smith (whose nickname was “Unogwaja” meaning hare in Zulu). In 1933, Masterton-smith lived in Cape Town and could not afford the train fare to Pietermaritzburg for the start of the Comrades Marathon. He got on his bike and he cycled there. Today his courage and determination in the face of adversity are at the core of the Unogwaja Challenge which has become an annual journey that started in 2011 and brings together a small group of people chosen from all over the world for this special mission of hope across South Africa. On Sunday, 3 June, Day 4 of the challenge, the Unogwaja team cycled the stretch between Willowmore and Graaff-reinet. "Day 4 epitomized the landscape of the Karoo: long, straight, flat roads and sparse vegetation! It is a day where teamwork is vital, and the team truly excelled. We worked hard together and got great momentum on the flat roads, while each rider tried to keep ahead in the windmill game!” said one of the cyclists. He continued, "The shorter distance of 175km and a tailwind meant that we got to our destination much earlier than the previous three days. A large group of boys and girls from Union High met us at Caltex on their bikes and escorted us to Arthur Kingwill House, our stop for the night. The bikes were donated to the school by Pedals for Peace and delivered by ourselves during a visit to the school in November last Watch video at www.graaffreinetadvertiser.com The Unogwaja team at Union’s Arthur Kingwill House. year. It is great to see the learners on bikes and their support was much appreciated!" Making the most of the early day, the team put on their running shoes for a walk/ run through the streets of Graaff-reinet before starting their regular routine of a massage followed by dinner. A special evening followed whereby some of the team members shared their stories of motivation with the hostel boys; an evening which always inspires the younger generation. Early Monday morning, the team started their cycle to the Vukasebenze Shelter in Cradock - one of Unogwaja's beneficiaries.