On 10 December 2012, four intrepid bikers departed Cape Town for Kampala, Uganda, on a long-haul ride in support of quality education in South Africa.
The foursome reached their goal destination, Kampala on 31 December 2012 and now, four weeks into their journey, Peter Pretorius and Gerhard, Oscar and Rosca de Waal are in the final stages of their trek back to Cape Town.
The adventure, dubbed SA2UGANDA, was undertaken to raise money for QE4SA (Quality Education for South Africa). QE4SA is an initiative of Symphonia for South Africa (S4SA), focused on improving the state of education in the country through its School @ the Centre of Community (S@CC) programme.
The SA2UGANDA team planned to travel about 350 kilometres a day, but averaged up to 550 kilometres on some stretches. Having passed through some of Africa’s most remote communities in the course of their expedition, the group visited a total of ten countries (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Lesotho) – battling blistering heat, treacherous winds and unexpected thunder storms on the way.
They are currently making their way down the east coast of the continent through Tanzania and Mozambique, and are expected to cross the border back into South Africa at Ponto do Ouro on 16 January 2013.
Oscar explains that the inspiration for embarking on the journey was threefold: “For the fun of it, to see other African countries and peoples (so much to see!) and to ride for a great cause: QE4SA.”
“I am a father blessed with two children,” Oscar says. “I know firsthand what the benefits of a quality education means to our society.”
Oscar is an advocate of active citizenship. “What you sow is what you reap,” he says. “Let’s stop being passengers in life. We all have the responsibility to get involved and do something to improve the country’s education system.”
The 11,000 kilometre-long journey was not without glitches, however. Shocks, for one, took a beating on the challenging terrain. “At some stage,” Peter says, “we imagined ourselves to look like bad circus clowns due to badly-worn or no shocks!” And tumbles were inevitable: “We all kissed the floor a couple of times!” he joked. “Rosca tipped in the mud. Gerhard hit a bump and did some unplanned one-tyre motion for a few yards.” After a few days of riding almost non-stop, Oscar complained that his saddle was starting to feel like an ironing board.
But the positives of the journey far outweighed the trials. “These travels are so humbling,” Oscar says. “We have such great neighbours on the African continent. There is so much to see and do.”
Peter adds: “We saw giraffes, witnessed magnificent views and met some amazing people. We are indeed blessed and thank God for bringing us this far on this journey. May God bless our journey homeward-bound.”
With about 4 000 km to still go before reaching Cape Town, people are encouraged to donate at http://www.qe4sa.org/index.php/sa2uganda.
All contributions will go to Symphonia for South Africa’s Partnerships for Possibility programme, a process designed to assist principals fulfil their roles as community leaders by partnering them with business leaders. Partnerships for Possibility has demonstrated the success that can be achieved when schools are supported by business, government, parents and the community.
The project is currently running in 84 schools with an aim to reach 150 schools in 2013.
Follow the SA2UGANDA team on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SA2Uganda.
For more information visit: http://www.qe4sa.org.