Former Sapa Yopa Motorcycle Club President and Limpopo entrepreneur Sarel Nong is set to embark on an experience of a lifetime when he joins the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s #Trek4Mandela #Caring4Girls fundraising initiative that would entail a three-week motorcycle ride through five African countries before a climb to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in July.
Nong was selected as one of six South Africans to take to the road on adventure bikes to Tanzania via Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi on 17 July to be followed by a treacherous climb to the top of Africa’s highest mountain. They would be filmed throughout as they interact with male-dominated groupings of varying ages en route to debate the topic of gender-based violence and deconstructing the subject from an African-centred perspective, he said. “We want to reclaim Africa.” The group would further be expected to hand out donations along the route.
Apart from Nong the group consists of roleplayers from varying spheres, being pilot Motshwane Mabogoane, filmmaker Neo Matsunyane, banker Tawanda Chatikolo, television station technician Thabo Mojapelo and law enforcer Victor Magoro.
Ten days after their departure and three days upon arrival in Tanzania they would be joined by a group of 27 individuals who will join them in Dar es Salaam for the climb, he pointed out. The number is seen to be symbolic of the years former President Nelson Mandela spent in prison.
It would be the first time that Nong has done anything as physically taxing in his life and he is adamant to stick to the training programme he embarked upon two weeks ago after being approached to be part of the initiative a week prior. According to Nong preparations for the elevated climb of six days to the highest peak, Uhuru, demanded an estimated three-month training programme determining that he had to, among others, walk at least five kilometre distances and climb 100 steps at Peter Mokaba Stadium twice a week. He was already mentally preparing himself for trial runs in the Drakensberg and Magaliesberg mountains within the next two to three weeks, he indicated. in the meantime he is getting used to instant food of the likes that would have to be carted up the mountain.
According to Nong he was mainly looking forward to the ride that marked the first leg of the journey. Although he was very committed to preparing for the climb and boasted a clean bill of health, he was mindful of the mountain claiming South African race car driver Gugu Zulu last year and had therefor made up his mind that he would turn back if he couldn’t continue, he explained. His only concern was the altitude and had already started practising with an elevation mask on the weekend when he did a stretch of approximately 25km from the bottom of Magoebaskloof to Haenertsburg on Saturday afternoon after returning from a training camp in Gauteng that morning. Considering the fact that they would be exposed to extreme temperatures, Nong reckoned that as winter was his favourite season he wouldn’t be perturbed by the prevalence of snow on the mountain.
Nong is determined not to stop at the challenge, but to move on to the next as he has his mind set on eagle capturing in Japan.
Story: YOLANDE NEL