Mar
20

A lesson in HOPE!

Last night, while attending the Aramex Songo.info champions race in Kayamandi, outside Stellenbosch I saw “hope” in action. This “township” of about 30,000 people hosted this event for the third year.

It was a short-track MTB event with categories for juniors, women and men. What made it so unique is the fact that is took place a few days before the start of the Absa Cape Epic, meaning that many of the professional mountain bike riders participated. Seeing them close-up in action was a great experience.

pro's

In case you don’t know much about Songo.info, let me give you the highlights. What started as an idea to allow Christoph Sauser and Burry Stander to race together in the 2008 Cape Epic has developed into a social development program that provides sport and recreational activities to children. This is a result of the great work initiated by Songo Fipaza in Kayamandi and his subsequent teaming up with Christoph Sauser, the Swiss national who calls Stellenbosch his second home.

It became quite clear during the men’s race that the Kayamandi kids knew exactly who Christoph is and shouted his name as he passed by and even patting him on the back as he passed. Seeing that was something that I certainly have not experienced before. It was however when Christoph crossed the finish line first that these kids literally  went crazy.

As Christoph finished, he cycled on for about a 100m or so away from the finish area, on the sports field. It was then that the kids at the finish line ran after him, en masse. It made any celeb mobbing I may have seen before look tame.

When he finally stopped, the kids were all over him. Two security guards eventually had to try and get the kids away from him. At no stage however did Christoph complain or try to get away from the kids. Everyone who asked for a “hi-five” got one and it was clear that they were in awe of him and that he is their hero.

When I walked away from there, I realised that he has given them an amazing gift: HOPE! Hope that no matter where they live or what their circumstances are, they could one day be that mountain biker / athlete / individual that succeeds, creating a better lives for themselves and hopefully, in the spirit of Songo Fipaza and Christoph Sauser pay it forward!

Christoph Sauser

 

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