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Cycalive, a unifier in the spirit of ubuntu

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MICHAEL BELLING

PHOTO: ILAN OSSENDRYVER

The five-day relay cycle ride, which left from the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Houghton, has been an official event on the Nelson Mandela calendar for the past few years.

Torah Academy, in partnership with two Soweto schools, Moletsane High School and Pace Commercial Secondary School, were joined by four schools from Israel.

Addressing the boys, former Cabinet Minister Tokyo Sexwale, who is also a board member of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, told the cyclists that “it is the spirit of South Africanism you are promoting here, the spirit of uniting our youth”.

Quoting from Nelson Mandela’s A Long Walk to Freedom, Sexwale said no journey could be completed without standing side by side with other people. The challenges would continue, but the boys had to “keep cycling. There are times when you will want to give up, but don’t do it. Think of the man from whose house you departed. The journey must take you to uniting with your fellow riders.”

Sexwale said he was soon going on a Fifa mission to Zurich, Israel and the Palestinian territories in an attempt to resolve the difficulties facing Israeli and Palestinian football, in a spirit of coming together. The young people of South Africa had inspired him “to help others out there climb more hills”, he said.

Rabbi Dovid Hazdan, dean of Torah Academy, said Cycalive brought together young people from different backgrounds, religions and cultures.

Unity was about helping people be “proud, confident and strong in their own individuality and identity”.

He said that 75 per cent of the Cycalive proceeds went to disadvantaged schools in Soweto.

Wendy Kahn, national director of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, said the Board had recently dealt with incidents of intolerance and hate. There had been meetings to consider how to deal with this polarisation and focus on commonalities.

“Today provides an exceptional model for social cohesion, celebrating what unites us and not what divides us.”

Madeleine Fane from Partnership Together (P2G) encouraged the cyclists to achieve a human bridge between people of Israel and abroad.

Dan Zimba, principal of Moletsane High School, said the bus that followed the riders symbolised unity.

“Every one of us has a chance to get on the bus and ride in it. That is what Cycalive is all about.”

Rabbi Yossi Chaikin, principal of the TA Boys’ High, said a prayer for the success of the trip.

A team of cyclists from Elvey Security Technologies also accompanied the 30 grade 11 cyclists as they set off.

 

 

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