Banyana players join sporting heroes walk against HIV, AIDS

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Potchefstroom - Banyana Banyana skipper Amanda Dlamini and striker Noko Matlou have joined other sporting heroes in the walk against HIV and AIDS campaign aimed at raising awareness about the pandemic in South Africa.

The campaign started in Sterkspruit on Sunday, 18 November and has seen the sporting heroes run or walk an average of 100km per day for sixteen days spreading awareness about HIV and AIDS in the Eastern Cape.

The walk ends in Umtata today, Saturday, 1 December to mark World AIDS Day.

The sport Heroes Walk against HIV and AIDS campaign is an initiative that started 12 years ago with the aim of educating communities about HIV and AIDS and the deadly stigma associated with the disease.

The sporting heroes and heroines have been spreading messages of hope to communities about the positive role that sport can play in combating HIV, and other social ills. 

They have also been holding coaching clinics for underprivileged communities; donating school shoes to children, conducting voluntary HIV and AIDS counseling and testing with their campaign partner Right To Care.

Along the sixteen-day journey, they have also been visiting HIV and AIDS care centres, and donated funds courtesy of Discovery Health and SASOL, to these HIV Homes or Centres.

The project has so far raised a total of R7 million since its inception in 2002 to help families and organisation that have been affected by the disease which is wiping people from all different racial groups.

The walk will also be used to honour long distance running champ, Zithulele Sinqe who died in a car accident late last year. Sinqe was born in Umtata, Eastern Cape.

Some of the other sporting heroes include former Banyana skipper Desiree 'Dumpie' Ellis and Veronica 'Bhudu' Pewa.

"Ellis said the Sports Heroes Walk for HIV and AIDS is a great initiative to raise awareness about the deadly disease. 

"We want to use this time to encourage children to take up sport to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS and teach them that through sport they could get scholarships to further their studies. 

"We also want to encourage them to lead healthy lifestyles. It is important for sporting figures to be good role models to these young children as they look up to us and follow in our footsteps. We hope this walk will create an impact on this community and the nation at large," she said. -