Since its inception in 2011, a total of 35 cyclists have been through the ranks of cycling for 10 days from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg, running Comrades on day 11, and raising bucket loads for charity while doing so.
Tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn, 12 new cyclists will join this legacy. But, before they set off, this is what some of the Unogwaja Challenge Alumni want the newbies to know…
Josh Ogada, Unogwaja Challenge 2014
My biggest takeaway was learning and acknowledging that true introspection, while being an individual and conscious exercise, is the greatest act of outward kindness. It is only when adversity pushes you to confront yourself and the limits you put on yourself, that you can truly understand what those around you mean to you, what you mean to them, and what is required of you.
Tarryn Povey, Unogwaja Challenge 2015
I learned too much during Unogwaja that it’s hard to think of one thing to share but here is a little advice that basically rings true for any team event I think…
Just keep moving! Whether it is in zero degrees at 5am or 35 degrees in howling winds. As a team you are incredible and will pedal and step every km of the journey together because it’s not about the body it’s about your mind! When you are a part of the Unogwaja family, the unity, passion and love is the best motivation you can get. So use it!
Tiago Dianisio, Unogwaja Challenge 2013 & 2014
The Unogwaja Challenge was a fantastic opportunity to touch the lives of many people in South Africa. I remember very fondly seeing the smiles in so many kids’ faces when they saw the cyclists going by on the road or when we stopped just for a quick chat. It also showed me how a group of strangers can get together and work to achieve a common goal.
Blake Dyason, Unogwaja Challenge 2014
UNOGWAJA CHANGED MY LIFE!! I learnt that we all have a responsibility to love and help others. I learned that every one of us has the ability to make a difference and together we can change the world.
I learnt that if you believe and follow your heart anything is possible.
David Williamson, Unogwaja Challenge 2013 & 2014
I get so sad/excited this time of the year. If only I was getting ready to hit the road again in my beloved CT!
On the other hand that is greedy of me and I’m excited for the new members of the Unogwaja family to have their eyes and hearts opened!
There are so many lessons that transcend the journey.
Aside from the staggering South African beauty and the warmth of everyone we encountered on the road, surrounding us from the first pedal stroke to the last step. I feel that I came away with a sense that helping those around you will never match the return. Something as small as a moment of encouragement can make all the difference. Something shared will always be more enjoyable for years to come.
We still talk about the days on the road together, the stupid jokes (Mainly Joff) or the Stoffings that Brundle would actively seek out. Personally I will always be indebted to those who helped me cross the Comrades line my first Unogwaja. That bond will never be broken, something that I can never repay to those who managed me for most of those 50 miles!
I feel this is a microcosm of what the Unogwaja truly is about, it’s not the miles in the saddle but it’s about lending the tools to those who want to be empowered, helping themselves to create a better future for those around them.
Nato Amaral, Unogwaja Challenge 2013 & 2014
The Unogwaja Challenge taught me that we all can change the World. And it starts with changing ourselves, becoming better, helping each other, looking after your friend, giving help to someone you haven’t met before.
And, most important, promoting the empowerment. We can start with Vukuzabenze, then Lebone Village, Umsilinga. Then we are all changing South Africa. And, In a bigger picture, we are definitely changing the World. That’s what really matters. It is the essence of Unogwaja.
Miranda Symons, Unogwaja Challenge 2012 & 2013
My first Unogwaja taught me how important it is to believe in your team mates and yourself. Anything is possible and it was an amazing experience to see us all work together to get through the journey. It also showed me the enormous value of the support staff and how wonderful they are! They are the people who back you the most, support you the most and love you through the whole thing…
Xolani Hlatshwayo, Unogwaja Challenge 2014
The Unogwaja Challenge taught me that working together enables us to achieve greatness. It enables us to achieve what may seem impossible. The only thing that will move our country forward is togetherness, and we all have a part to play.
Robert Goslett, Unogwaja Challenge Support Crew 2013
The Unogwaja changed my life forever. It taught me many things but most of all to love and to reach out to everybody no matter their circumstances.
René Fourie, Unogwaja Challenge 2015
“To me, teamwork is the beauty of a sport, where you have all acting as one. You become selfless.” Mike Krzyzewski – and that is true on and off the road!!
Andrew King, Unogwaja Challenge 2013
One of the most difficult things to work out as a young adult is how to balance the time spent on looking after our own personal interests and how much time we invest in making a meaningful contribution to our planet and the people around us. Most often people think that they don’t have the time or capacity to do more than just look after their own interests and ‘survive’. The Unogwaja helped me to reassess those values and taught me that the responsibility to get that balance right sits with us. If we always use the excuse that I will contribute more to others when I have more time and more money to spare for myself, I can almost guarantee that that time will never come. The Unogwaja is a constant reminder for me to not get caught up in my little bubble and keep looking at the bigger picture.
Feige is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to code things, design things, and all things beauty.