Recently, Kerry Millar, Principle at Deloitte, Austin, Texas, in the USA, visited South Africa with his family. He got in touch with Qhubeka in the hopes of attending a bicycle distribution ceremony. Unfortunately, the timing meant we couldn’t arrange for them to attend a distribution event, but we did manage to grab the chance to have a meal with them and share our story. Kerry and his family were incredibly enthusiastic and made a donation of five bicycles, for which we’re very grateful. Here, Kerry shares some of his thoughts on his trip…

Recently, during a family vacation to South Africa we had the opportunity to visit Soweto, the largest township in the region. We spent time at the Apartheid Museum, visited Nelson Mandela’s house, and also spent time in Kliptown, one of the many shanty towns within Soweto. It was incredible to see the spirit and tenacity of the people in Soweto, especially the children. Most of the children have to walk great distances to school unless they are fortunate enough to have access to a bicycle. I brought a number of Dimension Data team cycling caps to give to children and during our time in Kliptown I was able to hand them out to a number of the children. I explained to them that this was the cap of Africa’s first professional cycling team and they absolutely loved it! When I explained that Africans were riding in the Tour de France and this was their team you could just see the pride in their faces. It was an unforgettable experience and we hope to be able to give back to those communities by providing more bicycles to similar communities.

During our trip to Johannesburg I had the opportunity to meet with Anthony Fitzhenry, the founder of Qhubeka. It was an excellent opportunity to learn more about Qhubeka, how it was started, and all of the various initiatives that they’re involved in within communities across South Africa. As part of the Dimension Data / Deloitte / Qhubeka sponsorship, I was aware of the cycling team and the Qhubeka’s mission to distribute bicycles to communities, but speaking with Anthony gave me greater insight into how the programme is operated, what makes it successful, and what his vision is for the future. It was wonderful to hear about the “Blankets for Bicycles” programme, as I’d seen pictures on Instagram of the cycling team receiving blankets at the Giro d’Italia, but I didn’t know how the blankets fit into the overall Qhubeka approach of generating more wealth that will remain in the local communities. My wife and I really enjoyed our time with Anthony, as he’s truly a visionary leader with a passion for driving change within South Africa.