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Qhubeka is an Nguni word that means “to carry on”, “to progress”, “to move forward”.

Qhubeka helps people move forward and progress by giving bicycles in return for work done to improve communities, the environment or academic results. Having a bicycle changes lives by increasing the distance people can travel, what they can carry, where they can go and how fast they can get there.

Download the Qhubeka Overview PDF.

Transportation is a fundamental element of development

Most of Africa’s rural population has no access to transport and people have to walk long distances to access opportunity, education, healthcare, shops and community services. Rural schoolchildren are particularly badly affected by lack of mobility.

Research by Statistics South Africa indicates that 11 million out of a possible 17 million students in South Africa walk to school, with ‘walking all the way’ being the primary means of travel. Of students walking to school, half a million walk for more than an hour– up to 6 km each way– thus impact-ing concentration and learning ability.

Over 60% of students who walk to school in South Africa are in the lowest income group and rural students (8.1%) are more likely than urban (3%) or metropolitan (2.7%) students to walk more than 60 minutes to school.

The challenge of distance results in increased tardiness, frequent absenteeism, exhaustion and often the complete withdrawal of the child from the education system.

Bicycles are the most effective and economical method of quickly addressing this problem.

Qhubeka Orange Farm S-45

Fast Facts

  • More than 54 000 bikes have been distributed by Qhubeka since 2005
  • A child’s commute time to school is reduced by up to 75% with a bicycle
  • A bicycle increases a person’s carrying capacity by five times
  • Healthcare workers can visit more than double the amount of patients per day with a bicycle
  • Marks improve by an average of 25% for children who ride a bicycle to school
  • Schools where children ride bicycles see attendance rates rise by 18% on average

Volunteers and Partners

Qhubeka is a volunteer organisation. Qhubeka is governed by a board of directors who are executives mainly from a commercial background and who give of their time without financial consideration.

Technical input into design and component sourcing is provided by the technical expertise of World Bicycle Relief.

How is Qhubeka funded?

  • Bike sales
  • Corporate Social Development funds
  • Corporate Sponsors & Donors
  • Consulting
  • Events
  • Fundraisers
  • Individual Donors
  • Merchandise sales
  • Sports Team endorsement

Find out more about our governance, board and bicycle.


The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and World Economic Forum have recognised our bicycle supplier, Buffalo Bicycle Company, with the 2013 Award for Social Entrepreneurship. The Entrepreneur of the Year award acknowledges innovative approaches and outstanding work in health, education, employment and the environment. As a wholly owned subsidiary of World Bicycle Relief, the Buffalo Bicycle Company manufactures the specially designed Buffalo Bicycles. Purpose-built for rugged terrain and heavy loads, these bikes help people better access education, healthcare and economic opportunity.

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Notable Media Mentions

Past press releases