Counting down the days to 11 March 2018, seven cyclists from Kayamandi in Stellenbosch will tackle the Cape Town Cycle Tour as part of the #Maties100 group to mark the Centenary of Stellenbosch University (SU) and raise funds for student bursaries.
The seven form part of a racing team attached to the BMT Bike Shop of SU alumnus Chris Norton, located in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch.
“It is an honour for us to be part of this initiative. We aim to finish the race in a good time to show what can be done," Team Manager Unathi Msophi says.
They practice daily and frequently participate in big cycling events, such as the Cape Epic. SU's Campus Health Service provides sports medicine and pre-event screening services to the team.
Msophi says cycling has helped the team members a lot. Besides competing together, they are also a bunch of friends who grew up together in Kayamandi.
“Cycling is a great escape from the circumstances we face and has opened many doors f or us. We started in the intermediate phase, moved on to the development stage and now we are professional riders."
With the help of BMT's Norton, some of the team members have secured jobs and are furthering their studies.
The team have joined forces with the #Maties100 group for the Cape Town Cycle Tour and will be cycling with SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers and a large contingent of staff members, students, alumni and friends of the University.
In total, 63 cyclists have signed up to ride the world's largest timed cycle race – which stretches over 109 km – under the name #Maties100 and the slogan “forward together". The funds raised by means of entry fees and donations from the public will go towards bursaries.
“Higher education is the youth's gateway to the future. We welcome the recent announcement of more state funding for students, but there is still a great need for bursaries," Prof De Villiers said.
The BMT Racing Team recently came together on the Rooiplein and met with Prof De Villiers and one of the other #Maties100 cyclists, Geo Erasmus, who studies Sport Science at SU.
“Cycling is for anyone who is willing to put in the work and train regularly. We had to work our way up, and now I can confidently say that we are ready for the Cape Town Cycle Tour," Team Coach Thando Ntuthu said.
Msophi said the team has been inspired by Songo Fipaza, a local social entrepreneur working hard to bring about upliftment in Kayamandi through sport.
“He has helped a lot of kids with providing them with a safe place and keeping them busy after school. He introduced us to mountain biking. Now, our dream as a team is to get more people involved, especially the young ones. We have had a lot of great opportunities and we would love to give back."
Each of the riders will be receiving a special #Maties100 cycling shirt as part of their entry package. “Only 100 shirts are being produced exclusively for the University's Centenary. Fewer than 40 shirts are still available for purchase. Look out for our stall at the Cycle Tour Expo, or email me (email@example.com)," said Marvin Koopman of Alumni Relations.
Photo to the left: With SU Rector Prof Wim de Villiers (in the middle) are (from left) a former SRC Chair Dr Le Roux van der Westhuizen, Economics lecturer Prof Sofia du Plessis and her husband, Francios, and Desmond Thompson of the Corporate Communication Division. (PHOTO: HENK OETS)
A hospitality tent will await the riders at the end of the race. “I would like to invite all Maties riding this year's Cycle Tour to visit our marquee, where you can put your feet up and enjoy a cold drink after the race while reconnecting with fellow Maties. I look forward to welcoming you there," said Shaun Stuart of Alumni Relations.
to #Maties100 and boost the bursary fund, visit http://bit.ly/Maties100
* Click here for a previous story http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5481
Main photo: Pictured
on the Rooiplein with SU Rector Prof Wim de Villiers (middle) are, from
left, Sandiso Xetu, Bongani Bhusakwe, Unathi Msophi, Thando Ntuthu, Songezo
Luwaca, Geo Erasmus, Baphelele Mbombo and Zola Ngxakeni. Erasmus is a student
at SU, and the other riders are a group of friends from Kayamandi attached to the
BMT Racing Team who will be riding the Cape Town #CycleTour2018 as part of
Stellenbosch University’s #Maties100 group to raise funds for bursaries.
(PHOTO: STEFAN ELS)