Today, 100 schoolchildren from Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School in Khayelitsha informal settlement in South Africa’s Western Cape province received brand new Qhubeka Bicycles. Another 15 bicycles were distributed to Ride2Empower, a tourism enterprise in Khayelitsha.
Of the 100 bicycles for the schoolchildren, 50 were funded by Breitling through its fundraising efforts at the Coronation Double Century bicycle race in Swellendam. Breitling funded 400 bicycles in total, the remainder of which will be distributed over the next few months. The other 50 bicycles distributed to the schoolchildren on Thursday were funded by Qhubeka grassroots donors and fundraisers. The children who received bicycles are part of a Qhubeka learn-to-earn programme. The bicycles for Ride2Empower were funded by Woolworths South Africa.
Qhubeka is a global charity that runs bicycle-based programmes in South Africa. Khayelitsha falls within Qhubeka’s Western Cape SHIFT project. “A SHIFT is a Qhubeka bicycle project that aims to distribute 5 000 bicycles per year into a specific geographic area for five years,” explained Qhubeka Founder, Anthony Fitzhenry. “The objective is to help to shift the entire community forward. We believe that bicycles are a simple tool that can help to address South Africa’s pressing socioeconomic issues – such as persistent and widespread poverty and unemployment – by helping people to get where they need to go and thereby access opportunities, whether that’s schools, clinics or jobs.”
Siyabonga Mbaba, MD at Ride2Empower is enthusiastic about the benefits of bicycles. “We use bicycles to connect tourists and investors with entrepreneurs,” he said. “Cycling around Khayelitsha makes tourism fun and it allows our guest to engage with the community more than someone driving, and it’s eco-friendly.”
Fitzhenry said that Qhubeka is thankful for the support of the individuals and organisations who have made the distribution of the 115 bicycles into Khayelitsha possible. “Everyone who supports us is supporting the idea that bicycles change lives. Together, we can change more lives with bicycles by helping people to travel faster and further, and to carry more.”
“We have so much respect for the work Qhubeka does,” said Breitling CEO Georges Kern, who was part of the Breitling team that took part in the Coronation Double Century to raise funds for Qhubeka. It was Breitling’s first Triathlon Squad Mission, that included the likes of triathlon superstars Jan Frodeno, Chris “Macca” McCormack, and Daniela Ryf, as well as Swiss mountain biker, seven-time world champion, and multiple Olympic medallist Nino Schurter and Ironman champion and duathlon specialist Ronnie Schildknecht.
“Qhubeka distributes bicycles to people whose lives are changed in meaningful ways. A bicycle can take someone to school or work or a clinic – these donations can be, literally, a matter of life or death, and we’re thrilled to be able to use our mission to support Qhubeka’s vision,” said Kern.
The Khayelitsha programmes are implemented by Qhubeka’s collaboration partner, Bike4all. Before receiving their bicycles, every beneficiary also underwent safety training byBike4all.