In the Tour de Peace, 21 peace ambassadors from Groenvlei High School’s cycling club cycled 450km from Suurbraak to the school, to promote cancer awareness and peace as a fundamental necessity to live in harmony with the universe. Picture: Ryan Heugh
In the Tour de Peace, 21 peace ambassadors from Groenvlei High School’s cycling club cycled 450km from Suurbraak to the school, to promote cancer awareness and peace as a fundamental necessity to live in harmony with the universe. Picture: Ryan Heugh

Groenvlei High School Cycling Club embarked on a 450km tour for cancer awareness

By Brian Williams Time of article published Feb 19, 2020

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Triumphantly, 21 young peace ambassadors arrived at Groenvlei High School, in Lansdowne, on February 8  to the welcome sight of a marching band from Newfields Primary School, in Hanover Park. 

They were greeted by joyful music and dancing among the assembled crowds, amid the cheers of parents and well-wishers. 

The Tour de Peace ended in a swirling sea of rhythmic celebration and naked excitement. These members of the cycling club, from Groenvlei High School, are victorious role models  who travelled under the flag of Adri’s Angels. This is a story about visions that can be multiplied, so that humanity can be served. In this instance Godfrey Hendrickse was the dream merchant and the multiplier of dreams and destinies. It is quite insightful that the meaning of Godfrey is “Peace of God” or “God” and “Peace”. 

God was the inspiration and peace was at the centre of this divine project. Prayers were offered by Julia Koen, a peace ambassador from Hanover Park, prior to the 21 champions leaving Groenvlei High on February 1. These peace ambassadors cycled 450km from Suurbraak along a winding route of schools and rural towns. At Stellenbosch, they were joined by other cyclists to take them home. These young leaders shared messages.   

Patrick Hendrickse and Godfrey are involved with the Adri Cancer Foundation and wanted to engage in projects to advance cancer awareness. When the peace programme started in February 2018, the two streams of thinking merged to conceive the idea of the Tour de Peace, to create an awareness of cancer and promote peace.

At each of the towns they delivered a peace message from premier Alan Winde, which stated that: “I urge all communities and organisations to develop peace plans and to actively work towards making the Western Cape the safest place in South Africa.” 

Each day on the road was a story with different chapters of profound experiences. These peace ambassadors went out to share with others in the rural areas but, in giving, they received such enrichment and a sense of completeness. Most of these young people had never travelled to these rural areas. They were introduced to new realities of social deprivation that visibly affected some of them. 

A Grade 12 pupil, Jamie-Lee Gordon, stated that “seeing those kids broke my heart”. But at the same time it warmed her heart to see how they responded to the Tour de Peace initiative. 

Teacher Gail Prodehl, who cycled with the pupils, said rural poverty was desperate and “it was eye-opening for our pupils… they saw how children go to school barefoot in Barrydale, and at Net for Pret Centre, children were poorly dressed”. 

Prodehl said that at each town there were people who were positive influencers and champions hard at work guiding others, and from whom we could all learn a great deal.      

Delano Timm, a leading peace ambassador, led participants in chants of acclamation with “One light shines forever”, and “Viva Cyclists, Viva” and “Power is ours” as a means to cement a sense of oneness through words of inspiration. He encouraged everyone to do small good things on a regular basis. Delano applied peace concepts that he learnt in his training as a Peace Ambassador. 

He multiplied peace ideas to many thousands of people, in person and through media platforms. 

At the closing ceremony at the school, where the cyclists were acclaimed, the speakers joined in their praise and said these young people were able to go beyond expectations. 

The Tour de Peace was made possible through solidarity in action, by Groenvlei High alumnus and core sponsor Mark Ahjam, of Bilionetworks. He praised the extraordinary commitment of the young cyclists. 

He said that they had to work as a team to achieve excellence, which would serve as an eternal gold standard for others. 

Aden Thomas, an alumnus of Groenvlei High, also aired the remarkable event on Heart 104.9 and graced the cyclists with his presence at the homecoming. 

Western Cape Education Department head Brian Schreuder, said: “I was inspired… I saw the embodiment of efforts to restore positive mindsets, while creating cancer awareness and supporting peace initiatives. Well done Principal Tony Adamson.” 

Groenvlei High is the anchor school on the Cape Flats for peace promotion.   

Visions and greatness lie within each of us and opportunities to reveal this is all that is needed. These 21 peace ambassadors, as individual spirits, took the opportunity. They have emerged as a collective, with one light that will shine forever. 

* Brian Williams is Visiting Professor in fields of Peace, Mediation and Labour Relations. University of Sacred Heart, Uganda, and chief executive: Williams Labour Law and Mediation. Thought Leader Award 2018: Issued Black Management Forum.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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