Absa Cape Epic: bidding now open

Those who missed out now have a chance to bid for an entry into the 2014 Absa Cape Epic , to join some 1 200 riders on the starting line at one of the world’s most anticipated cycle races.

Registration for the gruelling mountain bike race has closed but every year organisers set aside entries for its official charity partners to help raise funds.

qhubeka 1The Qhubeka ECO project provides bicycles to children across Africa, in return for them improving their communities by planting trees, recycling waste and farmingThe highest bidder for the entries wins a ticket, with every cent above the regular R45 900 entry fee going to partner organisation Qhubeka.

The organisation is one of three charity partners for the 2014 race; alongside the JAG foundation and the Cancer Association of South Africa.

QHUBEKA: MOVING FORWARD WITH BICYCLES

The Qhubeka philosophy is that bicycles can play a role in mobilising and empowering underprivileged communities across Africa.

Started in 2005, the non-governmental organisation has since distributed more than 44 000 bicycles and has partnered with World Bike Relief to broaden its influence, becoming a global organisation.

“We’re much bigger now,” says Wendy van Eyck, communications manager at Qhubeka; “there’s a head office in Chicago with engineers in China where people manage the supply chain. It gives us much more capability and longer sustainability.”

Qhubeka, from the Nguni language group (including Zulu and Xhosa), means “to carry on”, “to move forward” or “to progress”.

Qhubeka founder Anthony Fitzhenry says, “When we started Qhubeka we wanted to get the internet into rural areas. What the internet does is it levels the technology playing field because you could have a child who is sitting in a KwaZulu-Natal rural area who has got access to the best content in the world with the internet.

“The problem we found soon after was a lack of access to schools. Education is the key to building a good life. We found some children were walking to school for up to three hours and were exhausted by the time they got there.”

Qhubeka 2According to the Wildlands Conservation Trust website, of the 16 million South African school-going children, 12 million walk to schoolAccording to the Wildlands Conservation Trust website, of the 16 million South African school-going children, 12 million walk to school. Of these, 500 000 walk more than two hours each way, spending four hours getting to and back from school each day.

Bicycles are a cost-effective way to address this problem.

QHUBEKA PROJECTS

The Qhubeka ECO project provides bicycles to children across Africa, in return for them improving their communities by planting trees, recycling waste and farming. The education project rewards promising students with bicycles to travel to and from school.

Qhubeka Enterprises helps grow micro-businesses, providing bicycles to move stock and transport produce to markets.

The organisation also helps build communities through sport.

A TRUE TEST OF GRIT

The 800 km Absa Cape Epic Race, running through the beautiful Western Cape, has proven to be one of the toughest and most demanding races in the world. It draws cyclists from around the globe to test their mettle as they race along a meandering route including some 15 000 m in climbs.

The annual event takes place over eight days and has five categories; men’s, ladies, mixed, Masters (for riders over 40) and Grand Masters (for riders over 50).

This year, in a race first, the winning women’s team will receive the same cash prize as the men’s; R690 000. The total prize purse for the 2014 Cape Epic is R1 564 000.

The 2014 race takes place from 23 to 30 March.

PLAY YOUR PART

Donate to Qhubeka on its individual-donations page or the corporate-donations page; email the organisation or call +27 11 467 8726.

The organisation also has a social network presence; find out more on the get-involved page.