715 bicycles have recently been distributed at 5 locations across South Africa.
On 26 April, 715 Qhubeka Bicycles were distributed at five events in three provinces. There was one distribution in Gauteng, which included Qhubeka’s first-ever distribution to an all-girls school, as well as two in the Western Cape and two in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Qhubeka Bicycles distributed will help their new riders to get to school, libraries and community services more quickly and regularly, and they will also be able to carry more.
Gauteng – bicycles for girls and for safety
150 people in Orlando East, Soweto received brand new Qhubeka Bicycles as part of the ongoing bicycle distribution programme in the region, which is a partnership between City of Johannesburg, Qhubeka and various corporate donors.
The recipients of the bicycles were girls from Lofentse Girls High School – the first all-girls school to receive bicycles through the programme – and members of the local Community Policing Forum (CPF). The bicycles have been funded through City of Johannesburg, matched by Qhubeka’s Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge fundraisers.
“Distributing bicycles to 100 girl learners is another ground-breaking milestone in our ongoing bike distribution programme in partnership with Qhubeka,” says MMC for Transport in the City of Johannesburg, MMC Nonhlanhla Makhuba. “The focus on girl learners demonstrates the Department’s commitment to empowerment of women and we will be watching with keen interest how the girls from Lofentse Girls High School grow and benefit from this programme.”
“In South Africa, riding a bicycle is often seen as something that only boys and men do,” says Qhubeka Executive Director Tsatsi Phaweni. “We try to show, however, that girls and women can benefit enormously from riding bicycles too. For the girls of Lofentse Girls High School, for example, these bicycles will be a tool that helps them to travel to and from school much faster than if they were walking.”
Phaweni notes that Qhubeka views distributing 50 bicycles to CPF members is an investment in the programme’s sustainability because it improves visibility of safety patrols in the communities. “Just as we trained a bicycle mechanic in the community so that the bicycles can be repaired and maintained in the long-term, so we believe that distributing bicycles to CPF volunteers is important for the programme’s longevity. Bicycles allow CPF members to improve their safety patrols. This helps to reduce crime and improve safety for everyone – from the schoolchildren in our programmes to the delegates attending bicycle distribution ceremonies. It’s part of the holistic solution that bicycles can help to provide.”
Western Cape – bicycles for trees and Pedals for Peace
The two Western Cape distributions saw 100 bicycles being distributed to schoolchildren in Rietenbosch, Stellenbosch, and 165 bicycles for community members in the rural Tankwa Karoo region.
The schoolchildren who received bicycles at the Rietenbosch event are part of a programme implemented by Wildlands Conservation Trust and have earned their bicycles by growing indigenous tree seedlings.
Pedals for Peace sells Qhubeka bicycles online for Afrikaburn. These bicycles are gifted back to Pedals for Peace at the end of AfrikaBurn, and the organisation then distributes them into the Tankwa community.
In 2017 bicycles where distributed to school learners, farm workers and police services in some of the most remote towns in the Tankwa Karoo. This year, Pedals for Peace has raised over R200 000 for Qhubeka and will see 165 bicycles being used at AfrikaBurn. These bicycles will then, again, be distributed into the communities in the Tankwa Karoo.
All recipients will be a part of a learn-to-earn or work-to-earn programme that will allow them to earn their bicycles over time through improving school attendance or through community service, litter collection and employee purchase arrangements.
KwaZulu-Natal – 300 bicycles to change lives
In KwaZulu-Natal, 50 bicycles were distributed to the Change a Life Academy, in the Valley of a thousand Hills. Run by Martin Dreyer, the Academy identifies young, talented athletes, puts them through their paces and then selects an elite team of eight to compete in mountain bike races across the country to measure their performance against other athletes.
One of these races is the ABSA Cape Epic and Change a Life Academy is one of the official development academies of the race. Qhubeka is an official charity of the ABSA cape Epic, and through funds raised at the race has partnered with the Change a Life Academy to provide bicycles to the athletes who are part of the mountain-biking and canoeing disciplines at the academy. The athletes will use their Qhubeka bicycles to get to and from school, work and training every day.
The other 250 bicycles in KwaZulu-Natal are being distributed through a Qhubeka partner programme to benefit schoolchildren in the Eshowe region. With bicycles, the schoolchildren are able to travel further, faster, and to carry more.