Qunu and surrounding areas of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape were alive with sporting activities this weekend. The activities were part of celebrating and commemorating the upcoming birthday of former President Nelson Mandela.

More than one hundred athletes, golfers and cyclists traced Madiba’s footsteps from Clarkebury in Ngcobo to Mvezo where he was born. These activities were hosted by the Nelson Mandela Museum through its program called The Icon’s Journey.

However, athlete Farai Chinongwe and cyclist Lebogang Mashiyane say the terrain of the rural Eastern Cape is challenging.

“I’m doing this for raising awareness and funds to do projects for bee keeping in Mvezo and at Clarkebury. So I’ve done this race but it’s quite difficult because of the terrain, the gravel. So it’s not very easy for me to manoeuvre,” says Chinongwe.

“I was part of the launch last year and I was running and I decided this time I’m going to try it with a bicycle. It was tough because I think there were too many hills. I’m very strong on hills but today was something else. It was tough, but it’s worth it,” says Mashiyane.

Meanwhile, the Nelson Mandela museum’s CEO, Bonke Tyhulu says the aim of these activities is to educate communities about Tata Madiba’s struggles and legacy, but also to promote physical fitness.

“We’re using these different programs to remember the legacy of Madiba. Yesterday we did a Golf Challenge where different golfers across the province converged into Mthatha. Now for Mthatha to grow we need to have these different activities. Golf is one of such activities that we can use to promote and change the outlook of Mthatha from what it is today.  Now these activities are testing your physicality which has to link up with your mind,” says Tyhulu.