Changing communities one bicycle at a time

One of the after-hour activities of the Zwelisha program is cycling. Mathebula and the kids cycle through the village in the afternoons.

MBOMBELA – An innovative program to restore old bikes and put them to good use for children in an after-school programme, is creating a new generation of mountain bikers in Zwelisha.

This community-based project, to which community members from Mbombela donates second-hand bicycles, is the passion and brainchild of Mrs Ethne Cameron. She also funds and managed the program.

Cameron is assisted by Mr Colin Mathebula who has devoted his life to these children and runs the day to day activities at the centre.

The project falls under an umbrella organisation Sinani who manages a range of projects for orphans and kids at risk.

“We identified a few channels to which we can send bicycles that we source from the community. We fix and restore and then distribute them,” said Mr. John Wilcocks of Sinani.

“Zwel Kids have given us confidence that the project model can also be repeated somewhere else.”

This informal cycling has grown into an established and respected community project developing talent of kids who would never have had the chance to excel in bicycle sport and build bridges between communities.

The new cyclists showed their steel by recently entering the Mopani Mountain Bike Series. Zwelisha Kids Club had 20 entries in to the Race. Two of their riders were placed under the first five.

Lethu Nkosi came second in the 15 kilometre race and Petros Mathebula came fourth in the same race.

“Some of us have come alongside them by servicing their bicycles, giving them some cycle kit and entering them into the Mopani MTB Series,”said Mr Harshil Mitha.

Riders from the Club will participate once again on June 10 at the Zwelisha Challenge. Follow their progress on Mopani Pharmacy page.

If you have a bicycle that is just standing around or one that needs some fixing or even some old bicycle parts, phone the club’s bicycle maintenance manager David on 0823801142.

READ more about mountain biking in Mpumalanga

Elize Parker

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