The dream of a group of young people from a rural area of Mataffin near Mbombela in Mpumalanga of participating in the elite sport of cycling is now taking shape. The Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation together with a Cycling Club have donated bicycles to young people.
Mataffin is a small village a few kilometres west of Mbombela in Mpumalanga. The area is known mainly for its farming activities and the iconic Mbombela stadium. In this community, like in many other rural communities, cycling is not a popular sport.
However, the Mataffin Hotspurs Cycling Club is gradually introducing the sport in the community.
The club is made up of boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 15. The young people say cycling keeps them away from crime and drugs. Some of them are already dreaming of competing in big cycling tournaments.
Most of them had to borrow the bicycles as their parents could not afford to buy them their own. “I am feeling happy that now I am riding my own bicycle because I used to go to my neighbours’ to borrow a bicycle. It helps me to exercise my body and be healthy.”
The founder of the Mataffin Hotspurs Cycling Club, Mzwandile Ngubane, says the programme was initiated to introduce disadvantaged children to the sport of cycling. Ngubane says young girls are encouraged to join the team as they are normally overlooked when it comes to sporting activities.
” Cycling is not accessible to the black community and that is why together with the department we came into a partnership to ensure that we introduce cycling to the community of Mataffin by introducing it to the younger kids, of which now we are focusing on those between 13 and 15 years. So, the girls will have access to the sport. As you know girl children in a rural area or township when it comes to opportunities in sport, it is limited.”
Since 2016, the Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation has been hosting an annual cycling tour that attracts top cyclists. The department’s spokesperson, Sibongile Nkosi, says the donation is aimed at unearthing raw talent from disadvantaged communities in the province.
” We are hoping this will encourage them for example the club that we started within Bushbuckridge, they will be participating in the cycling tour that will be in Badplaas from the 13 to 14, so we are hoping to see these kids of Mataffin also participating in the Mpumalanga annual cycling tour which is a much bigger tournament.”
The Department of Culture, Sports, and Recreation has committed to continue promoting cycling through donating bicycles to disadvantaged communities across the province.