Bruce Hughes and Mike Morris are rowing 1,460km on stationary machines for six days straight to raise funds for a children’s home in KwaZulu-Natal.


Shongweni Valley, KwaZulu-Natal – Two friends who share a passion for helping those less fortunate, Bruce Hughes and Mike Morris, are at it again – attempting the impossible to change the lives of South Africa’s most vulnerable children. Their goal is to stationary row for six days, non-stop, covering a distance of 1 460km; which is the equivalent distance from Ingane Yami children’s village to Robben Island!

Ingane Yami, based in the Shongweni valley in KwaZulu-Natal, is a permanent, loving home for orphaned and vulnerable children. The village consists of individual houses, with each home comprising of a carefully selected foster mom and six children.

This isn’t the first time Bruce and Mike have set themselves such an audacious goal. After first hearing about Ingane Yami Children’s Village in 2013, Bruce fell in love with the heart behind it, and he didn’t waste any time in connecting with Mike and getting involved.

That year they entered the Atacama Crossing, a 250km, 6-stage Ultra Marathon, run in 40-degree heat with no support! Friends and family rallied behind them, and they were able to raise an incredible R450 000 to build a home at Ingane Yami.

In 2016 the itch to get involved struck the two men again and together they conquered the Elements Everest Trail Race – around the base of mount Everest at 4,500 meters above sea level, covering 160km’s and including 25,000 meters of accent. Again, this challenge was set with Ingane Yami in mind, as Bruce and Mike ran to raise funds to help build a multipurpose sports arena at the village.

Now, in November this year, they will take on their greatest challenge yet. The two men will row on a stationary rower non-stop, day and night for six days, in one-hour shifts – one rowing while the other rests and recovers, with the goal of covering the 1,460km distance. Impact rower, Stefan Terblanche, will join them during some of the difficult night-time hours, allowing Bruce and Mike to get slightly more prolonged stretches of sleep. Fortunately, they won’t be short on sustenance to keep them going, as Spar will be sponsoring all food and nourishment for the duration of the challenge. Spar is also involved with Ingane Yami in donating all of its food requirements on an ongoing basis.

The rowing machines will operate non-stop, from 9.00 am on Tuesday the 5th November until they reach their goal at some stage on Sunday the 10th of November.

Their goal is to raise enough money to build a new home.  This will become home to another six orphaned and vulnerable children who will be rescued and knit into a loving family where their potential and purpose can be realised.

They have named this event; “The Ingane Yami Mandela Challenge”, and their hope is that this event puts down a marker for others to get involved in the years to come. Their passion is for the story of Ingane Yami to be heard and embraced by an increasing number of people.

“It will hopefully become an annual event as people try beat the mileage and financial goal which Mike and I achieve, and with the help of Stef Terblanche the audience and support will be that much bigger,’’ explains Bruce.

“Ingane Yami plays such an important part in giving children a second chance in life and instilling family values. Ingane Yami is creating and giving these children a springboard to become the future leaders that our country needs. This is why we need the community to get involved,’’ continues Bruce.

Scott Hamilton, director at Ingane Yami, says, “Bruce and Mike have set themselves a massive challenge, but we have seen their grit and determination in the past and know the meticulous preparation that has gone into getting themselves ready for this one. We are so grateful for their passion and sacrifice, and we believe that the spin-offs from this event will be great, as others become aware of, and involved in, lifting up the lives of some of the most vulnerable amongst us. It truly takes a village to raise a child.”

The Ingane Yami Mandela Challenge is taking place at Ingane Yami Children’s Village; which is situated in the Shongweni valley about 30 minutes outside of Durban.

They would love you to come through and visit the village and see the rowers in action. Please contact Patricia Deacon, Ingane Yami Marketing Manager, on 078 342 0539 or email her on to arrange for this.

Concept2 will be providing the rowing machine and necessary tracking equipment to keep tabs on the event. Follow them on Instagram@concept2sa

The bank details to donate are: Standard Bank; Branch: 045526; Account Number: 251654605
Please use Ref: MandelaChallenge – YOUR NAME

Your support will be much appreciated and remember that no donation is too small.

Sources: Supplied Rowing
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Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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