Bikers for Mandela Day off to a roaring start
At precisely 07h45 this morning, a group of very special riders added heat to the Gauteng winter chill when they roared out of the Montecasino complex – marking the start of this year’s seven day, 13 hour and 37 minute-long Bikers For Mandela Day expedition.
Clad in Bikers For Mandela Day branded gear and astride branded bikes, the group of riders will be highly visible during the 2 200 kilometre route through Gauteng, the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumulanga, with a crossover through Swaziland – further spreading the ethos of Mandela Day.
A short press briefing took place before the riders and 15 support staff left on the trip. Riders 5fm’s DJ Fresh, singer Bok van Blerk and Survivor Winner Hykie Berg were joined by Nelson Mandela’s wife, Mrs Graça Machel and Achmat Dangor, Chief Executive: Nelson Mandela Foundation;
“The Mandela Day philosophy is to take action, inspire change and to make every day a Mandela Day. If all of us contribute in some way, whether 67 minutes or more, it will result in a transformative momentum, the Bikers for Mandela day are contributing greatly to this.” Says Achmat Dangor
Also amongst the guests were Mr Mthombeli Tengimfene: Executive Head of Division for CSR National Projects Vodacom Foundation; Brett Botten, Divisional MD (SPAR).
Vodacom and Spar are the chief sponsors of Bikers For Mandela Day 2011 with a significant number of support sponsors also playing a role. The expedition also has the backing of 46664 which has selected the project as key to its mission of furthering the humanitarian legacy of Mr Mandela.
“I believe that an event as important and valuable as the Bikers for Mandela Day excites other people to make a positive difference to the lives of disadvantaged communities by donating 67 minutes of their time towards volunteering activities,” says Mthobi Tyamzashe, Vodacom’s Executive Director CSI Vodacom Foundation. “We salute the team and wish them well on their journey.”
Mr Tyamzashe’s good wishes were echoed by those gathered at Montecasino including Graça Machel whose late husband, Samora Machel, will be honoured during this year’s Bikers For Mandela Day trip.
This will take place on July 15th when a symbolic wreath is laid at Samora Machel’s Memorial site in Mbuzini after the bikers pass through Swaziland on the way to Mbombela (Nelspruit). It follows an earlier heritage stop-off on July 12th which will see the group clean the monument and create a garden - including the planting of the ‘Mandela Gold’ Strelitzia - at the site in Howick where Nelson Mandela was captured in 1962.
Bikers For Mandela Day acts as an inspiration for individuals around the world to donate 67 minutes of their time to give back in service to communities. In 2011, the riders and support staff will donate 67 minutes of time at seven rural community projects along a more than 2 200 kilometre route.
Spearheaded by Nelson Mandela’s Executive Assistant of over 17 years, Zelda la Grange, Bikers For Mandela Day is an integral part of the annual Mandela Day activities – a call to action for individuals everywhere to take responsibility for changing the world into a better place, one small step at a time, just as Mr Mandela did. Activities can be submitted on the Mandela Day website which also features an interactive map to keep up-to-date with Bikers For Mandela as they take on their most challenging route yet.
Take Action, Inspire Change. Make Every Day a Mandela Day.
- Follow the ride on Twitter (@Bikers4MandelaD)
- On Nelson Mandela Day on July 18th, members of the public can pre-book for lunch at the Royal Elephant Hotel in Pretoria which is where the group will be returning to at around 14:00 on Mandela day. The cost for the lunch is at a reduced rate of R120,00 a head (the usual price is R175,00). Bookings for the lunch can be made directly with Surina on 012 658 8018, 012 658 8000, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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