“Men should stand up and speak out against abuse because they are the abusers” were the words of General Lamoer, SAPS Western Cape Provisional Commissioner late last year. He supported his statement with the statistic that in 97% of the rape cases men were the perpetrators. His sentiment on this is shared by General Petros, the Provincial Commissioner of Gauteng, who for many years has stated that the police cannot be held responsible for crime. That crime comes from the community and is perpetrated by members of the community and the communities need to start taking responsibility of the crime in their areas.
A group of cyclists, consisting of men only, have decided to take on this challenge by speaking out against the abuse of women and children. This group of business executives will cycle from Johannesburg to Cape Town in ten days and will visit schools in various towns en-route to spread this message. The school visits will also include a short talk wherein they will share with children the value of exercise and how to deal with negative emotions.
The XtremeFORkids Cycle Tour will take place from 28 February to 10 March, during which the group will be joined by other riders for the Cape Argus. This group will also be supporting the NGO, Matla A Bana – A voice against child abuse. This organisation was founded by ex-hostage, Monique Strydom, in 2002 and last their projects helped more than 20 000 children who reported abuse to the police. With the funding raised this year, the NGO hopes to be able to assist children with therapy and also create more child-friendly reporting facilities at the police.
Leader of the group, Dirk Lourens (44), is no stranger to mobilising communities. He has been working in the field of community sport development for many years and has seen the positive impact of sport on young people. He also puts action to word and has completed extreme events like the Cape Epic, Iron Man and twenty one Comrades marathons. “I feel that it is now necessary for the government, businesses and society to take extreme measures to stop the abuse of children”, he says.
He will be joined by a team of 4 riders each with their own passion for the sport of cycling and protecting children. Andre Van Bravel (49) is a biathlon athlete who has represented South Africa at international three events and is in complete opposition to children being abused. Dr. Bert Der Walt (43), business executive at Absa Bank who believes that children should be helped to report abuse. Michiel Nel (37) who has completed various long distance cycle challenges and someone who has a real understanding for the crime situation due to his expertise in the security field. The last member is youngster Stephan Reynecke, who will also supply the technical back up for the cyclists should anything go wrong with their equipment. Both Bert and Stephan will also participate in the Cape Epic only few days later after completing this tour.
The group will depart from Johannesburg on 28 February and will be stopping over in Parys, Welkom, Bloemfontein, Colesberg, Graaf Reinet, Uniondale, Mosselbay, Swellendam, Wolseley and Durbanville. They will cover more than 1500 kilometres. They will be supported by members of the South African Police Services, who will either join them in the riding or doing talks at the schools.
Two well-known South African singers, Mathys Roets and Annique, who also feels strongly about the cause, has dedicated their time as well. Mathys will escort the group from Johannesburg in a hand cycle and Annique will join the group for the Cape Argus Cycle Race on the 10th of March.
You can show your support by pledging towards this course. Visit www.matlaabana.co.za and follow the links.