Mandela Day bikers take action against abuse

11 July 2014

Zelda la Grange and DJ Fresh will don their helmets on Friday to lead a group of volunteer bikers and celebrities on this year’s Bikers for Mandela Day tour, stopping in Diepsloot, Vryburg, Kimberley and Bloemfontein to support organisations that help survivors of gender-based violence and rape.

“In South Africa, violence against women continues unabated,” La Grange, Madiba’s former assistant and patron of the 1st for Women Foundation, said in a statement on Thursday.

“With this in mind, we have dedicated our 2014 journey to the survivors of gender-based violence. We want to encourage more women to speak out, to take action, to follow through so that their perpetrators can be brought to book.”

La Grange and DJ Fresh will be joined by Saint Seseli, Angie Khumalo, Anele Mdoda, Alex Caige, Clint Cunningham and Johrne van Huyssteen on the trip, supported by 1st for Women Insurance via its charitable trust, the 1st for Women Foundation.

On Friday, the biker team will depart from 1st for Women’s head office in Fourways, Johannesburg and head for Diepsloot. There, together with 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day founder Carolyn Steyn, and Afrika Tikkun, an organisation that invests in education, health and social services for children, youth and their families, the team will distribute hand-made blankets to 67 beneficiaries.

From Diepsloot, the team will head to the Caritas Community Focus organisation in Vryburg in the Free State, where they will spend 67 minutes packing rape survivor care kits and painting the organisation’s contact details on a wall.

The 1st for Women Foundation will also hand over a cheque for R100 000 to Caritas Community Focus, an organisation dedicated to ensuring the well-being of people affected by poverty, drug abuse and domestic violence.

On Saturday, the bikers will travel to Kimberley, where they will spend 67 minutes packing rape survivor care kits at the Grace Divine Outreach Centre. The 1st for Women Foundation will also hand over a cheque for R100 000 to the centre, which provides short-term safe house accommodation for rape survivors, and offers the survivors counselling, court support, HIV testing and aftercare services in association with the Galeshewe Thuthuzela Care Centre.

On Sunday, the team will assist Bloem Shelter in Bloemfontein. This shelter cares for 90 to 100 homeless people daily, providing accommodation for babies, pregnant women, children, single women, the elderly and men affected by abuse, addiction, financial difficulties, mental problems and human trafficking.

The bikers will spend 67 minutes building a jungle gym at Bloem Shelter, as well as helping with painting. The 1st for Women Foundation will hand over a cheque for R100 000 to the shelter.

“We encourage all South Africans to make every day a Mandela Day,” La Grange said. “There are so many simple ways we can do this, and the great thing is that it doesn’t necessarily have to cost a cent. Acts of kindness, like volunteering at your local charity organisation or reading to those that can’t – it all counts.”

SAinfo reporter