The year 2018 is a momentous year for South Africa and the world at large, as it is the centenary year of Nelson Mandela. With special emphasis placed on the month of July as we build up to celebrate the centenary and Mandela Day on 18 July 2018.
Mandela Day celebrates Mandela’s life and legacy and urges all citizens, in the country and globally to contribute in making the world a better place through small acts of kindness.
Brand South Africa and its Play Your Part programme have collaborated with various stakeholders to encourage citizens to share how they are living Mandela’s legacy.
One such citizen through Gift of the Givers is 55-year old Marinus du Plessis, who is commemorating 100 years of Mandela’s greatness. Du Plessis is set to jet -ski his way into the Guinness Book of Records, with a solo 11000km Arctic-to-Athens venture, in honour of Tata Mandela and Mandela Day to raise both awareness about the immense challenges faced by persons with disabilities and vital funds for their care.
The epic 40-day jet ski journey is to encourage the public to donate funds to the Gift of the Givers, whilst breaking a world record. This will enhance the organisation’s support for projects dealing with the physically and mentally challenged, including autism. “Disabled children are equally entitled to an exciting and brilliant future” (Nelson Mandela).
The Pretoria-based export company owner, begun his record-breaking attempt on Saturday 07 July from Rognan, in Norway. He will jet ski through the rough North Sea, traverse the English Channel, the world’s busiest waterway, before skimming across the Mediterranean to Athens, Greece.
Commenting on his record attempt, du Plessis said: “I am a man on a mission. I want to heighten awareness about problems faced by physically challenged and autistic people, and the best way I know how is to tackle an endurance challenge on a jet ski. I do this in honour of Mr Nelson Mandela, my autistic brother and in the memory of a great friend, sadly no longer with us.”
Funds raised are to be dedicated by the Gift of the Givers to provide for wheelchairs and to assist Autism South Africa to support affected children. Du Plessis is no stranger to marathon jet ski exploits. In 2003 he and then close friend, Adriaan Marais, completed a 7 000km jet ski trip from Kenya to Cape Town in 57 days.
“A tragic diving accident in 2013 claimed Adriaan’s life, leaving me devastated and I gave no further thought to jet ski adventures until recently. A challenge of this nature is about both physical and mental fitness and undertaking a trip with others sounded too normal, so I opted for a solo record-breaking attempt,” du Plessis said.
Having had a brother with autism, du Plessis understands the needs and the support shortfalls persons with disabilities face, this led him to committing to use his next adventure in making a difference by creating widespread awareness of the funding needs of disabled communities in South Africa through an endurance challenge the public could follow and support.
South Africans will be rooting for fellow citizen, Marinus, hoping that he breaks the record. We are most grateful to him for his daring fund-raising endeavour on our behalf and encourage South Africans of all walks of life to really get behind his adventure.
Contact Marinus du Plessis on 082 443 0935.
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