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 Stellenbosch University (SU) Centenary 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 for 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,” De Villiers said.
The BMT Racing Team recently came together on the Rooiplein on SU’s Stellenbosch campus and met with 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.”
* To donate to #Maties100 and boost the bursary fund, visit http://bit.ly/Maties100
* Pictured on the Maties 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 bunch 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)
Source Stellenbosch University