Inaugural Qhubeka Street Race a Success
Today, the team spent time in the Vosloorus community just outside of Johannesburg with Qhubeka as the first street race took place. The initiative is to encourage and promote cycling as a sport.
Says Anthony Fitzhenry, Qhubeka founder: “I am absolutely delighted about how the street racing went today. It’s a concept that we’ve developed over the last three or four years. It is also great to have Team MTN-Qhubeka here as inspiration to our young street racers about how they can use a bicycle to change their lives.”
Today was the first street race. It gives the riders the opportunity to see what they’re racing for everyday. They see the impact they’re making on the ground and they inspire new young talent in Africa that cycling is an option as a profession. It’s great for them to see that the bicycle isn’t just something that takes you from A to B but that there is the possibility of a professional career and it was great for Songezo Jim to be here and share his story with them. These kinds of street racing for the children and adults who receive bicycles open their eyes to a sport they never knew existed before.
When I first heard about Qhubeka I wasn’t sure what it’s about. It’s great to finally see it first hand and it’s really touching. It opens a whole new perspective for you to see what it means to the people living there. We were there in terrible conditions and they would do anything to just get a coke and a hotdog. I’m really glad to have experienced it and see how they live and happy that we can make a difference.
It was pouring with rain and really cold and yet they guys came out and got involved with the racing with smiles on their faces. I think to myself I go back to my hotel with a nice bed and warm water and the community doesn’t have that. They go back to their house without running water, let alone warm water. You wonder who they cope with a cold day like today but I’m so grateful to be involved in Qhubeka and the difference it’s making. It makes me want to give back and I’d do anything because it breaks my heart as some of the kids come to the racing and it’s raining but they don’t have shoes on because they don’t own any.
The experience burns in my mind. I live in a country where there aren’t really poor people like in Africa. I saw 5 year old children with no shoes and just a t-shirt on in 16 degree weather in hard rain. For a guy like me from Europe, it’s something I can’t imagine. I am really really proud to be on this team and help put people on bikes. Not just for the sake of riding but for many, a bicycle makes them an entrepreneur.
We’re making a difference but these communities have an impact on my life after spending time there. Of course I am not blind and I’ve known before that I am privileged but it just reminds you when you see it again first hand. Western Europeans are generally live in big comfort but today we met people here who live in the worst conditions.