South Africans urged to take a walk

5 October 2015

South Africans were reminded to take the first step towards an active lifestyle by walking around their neighbourhoods by Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula, who launched World Walking Month and National Recreation Day on 2 October.

Thousands of South Africans participated in the annual Big Walk yesterday, a recreational event held by Mbalula’s department. It said the Big Walk was conceived as a result of increased obesity and lifestyle diseases. The main aim of the walk and National Recreation Day was to encourage South Africans to embrace recreation and a healthy lifestyle.

The initiative coincides with October Transport Month, an annual national programme that promotes eco-mobility and the use of public transport over private cars.

Watch Mbalula speak about the importance of recreational activities:

National Recreation Day events took place around the country:

The Big Walk

The Big Walk was held at the Tshwane Events Centre at Fountains Valley Resort and included various types of races and sports events.

The Association for International Sport for All (Tafisa) was behind the walking month, explained the department, which is an affiliate member of the association.

Huge growth has been recorded for the walk, which was first held in 2012. That year, 3 800 people took part; this year, there were more than 15 000 participants. It included 5km, 10km and 15km routes through the resort and the Voortrekker Monument.

The EcoMobility World Festival

“Walking is cool. Cycling is cool. Let us make it possible to stay healthy. If you walk or cycle you can reduce your weight, and reduce the chances of getting diseases,” Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on 4 October when she officially launched the EcoMobility World Festival Sandton, Johannesburg.

The festival, running throughout October, is aimed at encouraging residents to park their cars and make use of public transport, walk or cycle in Sandton, the city’s economic hub. It will mitigate traffic congestion that affects business and economy and address environmental concerns caused by carbon.

Peters said South Africa had a national climate change response strategy.

“We are committed to sustainable development. We are committed to ensure that we build cities of tomorrow, by making sure that we can move with the new technology. We also want to make sure that this technology will create jobs for our people.”

Gauteng Premier David Makhura envisaged the success of the festival, saying he would love to see it being developed into a lifestyle after October ended.

He echoed the minister’s call for people to use public transport. “It is cool to use public transport. Public transport promotes social cohesion and it protects our environment,” he said.

Watch Makhura explain the effects of the eco-mobility festival:

Yeom Tae-Young, the mayor of the Korean city of Suwon, was among the international guests who attended the official opening. His city was the first to host the festival in 2014. He said eco-mobility was good in that it promoted social change and integration.

Source: SAnews.gov and South Africa.info reporter