Gender-Based Violence Cycle
Photo Credit: Supplied

Wheelie good: Blokes undertook an ‘enormous cycling challenge’ to shed light on a dark topic, Gender-Based Violence.


Northern Cape, South Africa (4 June 2021) – In solidarity with the fight against gender-based violence, two retired guys, Gerhard Botes and Deon Viljoen, completed their “massive” 2 900km journey through the Karoo and Northern Cape.

The cycling united them to speak in one voice and to share survivor stories along the journey.

Relieved to be home, they are also proud to have achieved such a milestone “at their age” of 67.

“It was a milestone to have been able to achieve it at my age, and I am glad I did it. I enjoyed every moment. I hope this campaign beares fruit. The highlight for me was the support and interest from bystanders, asking us what we were doing and why. They were also quite surprised by two elderly men taking on such a big challenge for a cause such as gender-based violence,” Viljoen said in a statement. 

“It was an adventure. The people we met, the stories we heard, but mostly knowing that we could do this because it was for a greater cause.”

Deon Viljoen and Gerhard Botes with their bicycles
Photo: Supplied

They embarked on the 59-day journey on 9 April 2021 from Noupoort in the Karoo. They travelled through the Northern Cape, passing various towns en route to Springbok, which included Colesberg, Philipstown, Kimberley, Griekwastad, Upington and Vanrhynsdorp. On their return journey, they cycled through Calvinia, Williston, and De Aar, concluding their trip in Hanover.

This initiative is in partnership with the NPC, Yellow For Survivors, which was founded by Leilani Kuter in 2019 to provide survivors of rape and gender-based violence with resources and safe spaces to find the support they need to start healing. Leilani is an anti-rape activist who walked 729km in 2019 and 448km in 2020, raising awareness and funds for rape crisis organisations.

Not everything went according to plan. There were a few hurdles, such as the levers of the trailers breaking, the strong wind, and the rain pouring down.

About the challenges of their journey, Botes commented:

“Steep, long hills are a challenge on its own, especially with a heavy trailer, but it is nothing that we couldn’t overcome. We kept on reminding ourselves why we were doing this.”

The support from other road users was encouraging, “The big trucks and taxis were very courteous and drove wide around us. They honked and greeted us when they passed us.” Viljoen remarked.

Botes has been by Leilani’s side since her first walk in 2019, acting as cameraman, cheerleader and guardian angel during her walk campaigns.

On completing the journey, Kuter said:

“I am so proud of Gerhard and Deon for completing this journey. They just showed again that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. The funds raised by their campaign will be donated to shelters that assist survivors of GGG a.o. Huis Jabes in Cape Town and Hands-on Africa in Middelburg.”

To date, just over R25 000 has been raised of their R50 000 target. Donations can be made on the crowdfunding platform, Back A Buddy here.

Sources: Supplied – Press Release
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