At a glittering evening in celebration of South Africa’s sports industry, MTN-Qhubeka took home the tightly contested Virgin Unite Community Programme Award at the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards held at Emperor’s Palace on Thursday night.
The judges felt MTN’s sponsorship of the MTN-Qhubeka initiative strongly aligned to the Qhubeka programme. The initiative is a unique work-to-earn project which sees each child plant and grow 100 trees or recycle 1,500kg of waste in their community, and then barter their earnings for a subsidised Qhubeka bike, which they can use to travel to school.
MTN South Africa Chief Marketing Officer Serame Taukobong says the award was an incredible achievement and great recognition to the hard work put in by the team in the Qhubeka programme in the community: “As proud sponsors of Qhubeka, MTN is pleased to have received such huge recognition and as MTN, we aim to continue developing cycling talent from grassroots in South Africa and changing the lives of the children that we touch in the communities where the Qhubeka programme is run,” said Taukobong.
Taukobong added: “The MTN Qhubeka initiative, in partnership with Wildlands, continues to make tremendous strides in addressing the various socio-economic challenges faced by multitudes of disadvantaged communities across South Africa. Through this project, we are not only focused on mobilising business potential through our communication solutions, but also on mobilising and uplifting communities around the country one bicycle, one tree at a time.”
There are currently 120 facilitators actively working in the communities managing the Qhubeka programme, and the bike factory in Pietermaritzburg employs 17 people and produces 65 bikes a day. Last year, 350 000 trees were planted and 48.5 tons of waste recycled in the first half of the year.
The annual sporting awards which drew a large crowd also included the attendance of several former football, rugby and cricket icons, and current sportsmen and sportswomen such as SA swimmers Natalie Du Toit, Chad le Clos, Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs player Morgan Gould and Proteas’ players Hashim Amla, AB De Villiers and Faf Du Plessis.