Cyclists ride for Madiba

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pretoria - A total of 30 young cyclists from Johannesburg set out on their bicycles for Durban on Human Rights Day to mark Mandela Day in advance.

Mandela Day is a day when people around the world spend 67 minutes of their time doing something which makes a difference to the world around them.

International Director of 46664 Tim Massey said: "Mandela Day is about creating a movement for positive change and establishing one day to reflect upon, celebrate and manifest the values that guide Nelson Mandela."

The cyclists tour is the 13th annual Cycalive initiative and the first official event of this year's Mandela Day which is celebrated on July 18 every year.

Cycalive integrates young people from different backgrounds and this year's 30 Grade 11 cyclists come from the Torah Academy in Orchards, Johannesburg, and the Pace and Moletsane high schools in Soweto.

One of the organisers, Rabbi David Hazdan said: "As South Africans, we take our sport so seriously, but within sport is the power of nation building. Sport builds teams; it builds people; it builds the human spirit."

The Nelson Mandela Foundation's information communications manager, Sello Hatang, said the tour marks the first Mandela Day event for this year.

Former South African President, Nelson Mandela, in 2008 said: "The world remains beset by so much human suffering, poverty and deprivation. It is in your hands to make our world a better one for all."

Hazdan said Mandela Day must be an everyday occurrence. "All we ask for is you to symbolically give 67 minutes, which is the number of years Nelson Mandela spent doing good for others. Of course, the athletes here will do much more than this and we acknowledge and appreciate their effort."

Geoff Sifrin, editor of the Jewish Report said it was important for young people from different backgrounds to get to know each other and enjoy each other's company.

"I've always thought that having fun is a basic human right. It's not written into the Bill of Rights, but it's something we as South Africans were denied for a long time.

"The bicycle only stays up as long as you keep pedalling .As South Africans, we have to keep pedalling, never get off the bicycle and keep pedalling.
Just as he was about to set off, Lindo Mbewe, from Pace College, said he was "a bit scared, but excited.

The cyclists are expected to arrive in Durban on Thursday.