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Young cyclists off to Durban in a spirit of unity

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SUZANNE BELLING

Pictured :1. Only 745 kilometres to go to Durban as Cycalive riders set off from the Mandela Centre of Memory in Houghton on Sunday.

PHOTOGRAPHS: ILAN OSSENDRYVER

Sexwale, who is also patron of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and a member of the Fifa executive, came straight from the airport after a trip to Ghana, where he received a lifetime award for Africa, so that he could attend the launch.

“As you cycle the journey to bring peace to people,” he told the cyclists, he was going to be “cycling” from Tel Aviv to Gaza and Ramallah on behalf of Fifa to try and broker “a peace not known for thousands of years” between the Palestinians and Israelis.  

Addressing the grade 11 cyclists from Torah Academy, Moletsane High School and Pace College in Soweto, as well as five cyclists from Israel, who were brought out by Partnership 2Gether – Sexwale exhorted them to “show respect for the road so we don’t have an incident, respect motorists and one another. Make it a happy event.

“Send a good message to Durban that Johannesburg is likely to be in the hands of the DA.” In any event, he added, “we are one country and one society. Bring a spirit of peace in a world fraught with problems.”

Rabbi Dovid Hazdan, dean of Torah Academy, who was master of ceremonies, said: “We have the capacity to impact on the world.”

South Africa could be a power of looking to one another and making the country an example all over the world.

“It is not about me, it is about working together. We can change the world.”

Rabbi Yossi Chaikin, principal of Torah Academy Boys’ High, who, with Rabbi Hazdan, accompanied the cyclists on the trip, said a prayer for their safety and welfare.

“Put into the hearts of all South Africans a spirit of wisdom and understanding, that we may recognise that nation-building is founded on love and concern for each individual citizen – regardless of race, religion, culture or language – and on mutual respect for the rights of each individual community and religion to express itself freely and uninhibited and to thereby contribute its uniqueness to the betterment of our country.”

Wendy Kahn, national director of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, paid tribute to the late Bertie Lubner, a sponsor of the Field Band Foundation. (The Springs Field Band, together with Steel Wings and Rolling Thunder on their Harley Davidsons, contributed to a rousing welcome and send-off of the cyclists).

Kahn referred to the Olympic gold medal won by Caster Semenya, quoting Semenya that it was all about loving one another and not about discrimination.

Dan Zimba, principal of Pace College, who started Cycalive with Rabbi Hazdan in 1998, with the intention of taking the classroom to the road and helping young boys develop educationally, said it was a lesson in life orientation.

“Learn to respect and co-operate, recognise one another and know that South Africa belongs to all of us.” Zimba was among the educators accompanying the cyclists on the trip.

The objectives of Cycalive are to build bridges and form bonds between young South Africans and their respective communities; inspire Ubuntu; fundraise for educational projects – 75 per cent to previously disadvantaged schools; highlight road safety and encourage leadership and self-confidence among the participants.

The boys prepared care packages, including stationery and refreshments for schools and hospital patients en route. The cyclists arrived in Durban on Thursday to a welcome by the Field Band from KZN, civic dignitaries and community leaders.

 

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