Social entrepreneur Nkosinathi Manganyi is leading a group of South Africans on an endurance walk across the country, from Giyani, Limpopo to Cape Town, to raise money and awareness for disadvantaged schools in Limpopo.
The 40-day, almost 2,000km walk began on 26 February 2017, with Manganyi and his team reaching their 500km milestone, Johannesburg, on 6 March.
This is not Manganyi’s first walk for charity. In 2014, he walked from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein for children’s charities, and in 2015, he embarked on a longer trip from the Free State capital to Port Elizabeth for cancer research.
Manganyi says his social entrepreneurship was first inspired by a friend in need, telling the New Age newspaper: “I had a friend who was diagnosed with bone cancer and they had to amputate his leg. It was at that moment that I realised how fortunate I was and wanted to give back to the community and show gratitude to God.”
Hearing about various similar charitable walks around the world, particularly one by a man who walked from Europe to the North Pole in under a month, Manganyi decided “right there and then…that next year on my birthday I’m walking to Bloemfontein. I didn’t know how but I knew I had to do it.”
The Giyani to Cape Town trek is specifically for the community of Giyani, in particular schools in the area. Manganyi says schools here need urgent funding to rebuild libraries, revamp bathrooms and buy uniforms for more than 700 students.
“We might be able to raise funds that could cover beyond the schools that we are looking to fund,” he told the Citizen newspaper on 28 February 2017, hoping to help out a few needy schools in Mpumalanga as well.
Manganyi, a prominent church leader in his community, is also using the walk as a personal spiritual journey, a mission to spread the word of God. He and his team of walkers will visit schools and community centres along the way to speak about using God-given gifts to build and not destroy:
“(We will be) working on the spiritual progress of people, (teaching communities about) what it takes to give and what it means to give to others. It’s about enlightening people about where they are coming from and who they are and where they are going,” he told the newspaper.
Manganyi is using social media to spread the word of his journey, offering regular updates via his Facebook page and inviting anyone along the route to join the walk or offer assistance.
“We are trying to do all of this to raise money so…anyone can join us (or sponsor the walkers) for 5km (at R100 per kilometre)…We currently have about 200 people joining us on the road.”
But Manganyi says, above all, the walk is about meeting and talking to South Africans from all walks of life and changing lives along the way. “It’s not (only) about the money; it’s about playing your part with the little that you have.”
Back in Giyani, the community is eagerly following his progress on social media and on the local community radio station, Giyani Radio.
Station manager Prenomen Chabani says the work of Manganyi and his team of walkers is inspiring. “We are monitoring him every day so he can tell us where he is and what the challenges are that he is facing. We also help them with food and all that they may need for the trip.”
For more information on Manganyi and his walkers’ journey through the country, and how you can contribute to the cause, check his Facebook page.
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