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by in Qhubeka

This Thursday (18/10) was incredibly special for me, I got to hand out the Qhubeka bicycles that were raised through my completion of the Freedom Challenge. The handover was in conjunction with Wildlands and Qhubeka to a group of treeprenuer recipients in the Buffelsdraai area north of Durban. 200 bikes were handed over, and I had the honour of making a small presentation to the community.

These bikes will assist adults in getting to their workplace, and more importantly the children to get to school quicker and more efficiently than walking. Too often sports people raise money through their efforts without a true indication of how much of that money gets to the community on the ground – in this instance the bicycle were very evident and handed out in front of our eyes.

Thank you MTN and Qhubeka for allowing me to combine my Freedom Challenge journey with this fantastic initiative.

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by in Qhubeka

Being able to use the Freedom Challenge as a vehicle to raise awareness and funds for the Qhubeka initiative has proven to be extremely successful and something I am very proud of.

From a corporate perspective at MTN we are incredibly lucky to have an extremely dedicated network of franchisees who run our Branded stores across the channel. Not only are these organisations delivering excellent service to our yellow customers but also believe firmly in the social responsibility cause that is Qhubeka.

In an incredible show of generosity and commitment to Qhubeka, they have donated in excess of R180 000 to funding bicycles for Qhubeka (on the proviso that I finish the race! ). I would personally like to thank these companies, and look forward to the bike handover to the community on my return:

Bike Challenge Dealership
Pottie & Adolph Potgiter Alphagranite
Ria van Niekerk C&R Cellular
Ahmed Sader Cellect Cellular
Richard Lurie Cellnetwork
Estelle Porteus Cellular Express
Leon Noussis Core Group
Chester+Liz+Cooper Corporate Cellular
Nick Akakios & Jean Bezuidenhout Cosmo-Net
Shaun Govender Dial Connect CC
F&M van Eck FMZ
Wasim Khan Freeway Cellular
Andre van der Merwe Hartbeespoort Cellular
Giancarlo Bruno Maverick MTN
Franco Bruno Maverick MTN
Helen Sigala MicroZone
Naeem Jeewa & Firoz Karim Mobile Communications
Mohamed Shafi Ameer Rhythm House
Mohammed Kajee Sound & Cellular
Neil Kind Sounds Extreme
Dave Adams Tech Equipment
Bernard Engelbrecht URB Sellulêr
Gerbri Van Heerden VTC
Michelle Correia VTC
Rich Beart Wola Mobile
Slim & Peter World Sound

I hope to do these donations proud and finish the race prior to the 26 day cut off. Having witnessed the power of Qhubeka at the recent Vosloorus bike handover (see previous post) – mobilising the 12 million kids that walk to school is a cause that we can all rally behind.

Thank you MTN Branded Retail Franchisee’s !!!

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by in Qhubeka

Today I had the good fortune of witnessing the power of the Qhubeka initiative first hand. I attended the formal handover of Qhubeka bikes to a community who has earned this valuable transport mechanism through their own drive and determination. Through competing in the Freedom Challenge I hope to raise over 100 bikes that can be consolidated with the next community earned bike handover.

Below is the IOL press release for the occasion:


Wheels of fortune for green peddlers

May 31 2012 at 09:00am

Samantha Hartshorne

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Women from Wolf Informal Settlement in Vosloorus who benefited during MTN’s bike handover ceremony take their bicycles home. 24051212. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu 

Lillian Kembo, 47, steps forward to wheel away the third bicycle she has earned for growing 100 trees from seed in her small back yard in Wolf, an informal settlement on the dusty outskirts of Vosloorus.

Her first two shiny yellow bikes, with the word “Qhubeka” on the crossbar, are used by her teenage children to cycle to school and carry water and groceries, but Kembo says this one is for her brother-in-law who “does too much” for her.

Qhubeka (“To carry on”) rewards community members in 80 nodes around the country, as far afield as Khayelitsha and Nelspruit, for environmentally responsible activities like growing trees, vegetables and recycling.

Kembo, known as a “tree-preneur”, says she has 1 500 saplings of various heights growing in discarded 2 litre plastic bottles, which she sells back to Qhubeka when they are 1m tall.

In the case of recycling, the community members “bank” 1 000kg of plastic, tin and paper to earn one bike.

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An excited Nkosi Mchunu rides his bike at Wolf Informal Settlement in Vosloorus during MTN’s bike handover ceremony in conjuction with Qhubeka and Widlands projects. 24051212. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu 

According to Anthony Fitzhenry, director of Qhubeka, they can trade for other items, like Jojo water tanks, and many sell the bikes for cash.

Hlengiwe Mthembu, 30, hands over the 120 bikes, mostly sponsored by MTN, on the bare soccer pitch. She says Vosloorus is now home, even though she grew up in northern KZN.

She has run the Wolf-Qhubeka project for four years since Wildlands (the Conservation Trust that conceptualised reward programmes for communities) transferred her.

“They wanted someone to surrender themselves to Johannesburg.”

Qhubeka also provides support to health-care workers, schools and aims to send the first African team of cyclists, chosen from around the continent, to the 2013 Tour de France.

Operating since 2004, Qhubeka has responded to SA’s unique situation and in line with their motto, “hands up, not hands out”, have handed out 140 000 bikes in all.

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Evans Ntshangase rides his bike at Wolf Informal Settlement in Vosloorus during MTN’s bike handover ceremony in conjuction with Qhubeka. 240512.Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu 

With a goal to put 12 million kids on bikes by 2017, Eleanor Mitrovitch, general manager of MTN Branded, says they support the project because it has a tangible aspect.

“We like it because it rewards and empowers the people rather than simply handing out help.”

While instilling a culture of recycling and home industry, a Qhubeka bike also encourages enterprise as the owners (many of whom are children) do chores for cash.

The frame can support 150kg of weight and the sturdy back-rack, made in Joburg, can carry a sibling to school.

As Kembo hands over her ID book, with her one-year-old on her hip, she is briefed about the bicycle by the area’s facilitator.

The bikes are made of solid steel, with extra-thick rubber tyres and back-pedal brakes.

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Young boys gather around bikes at Wolf Informal Settlement in Vosloorus during MTN’s bike handover ceremony in conjuction with Qhubeka and Widlands projects. 240512.Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu 

They are assembled in Pietermaritzburg. The cost to make up the bike is about R1 500 after assembly and shipping. But, says Fitzhenry, “it’s worth millions in the right hands”.

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