Fatherhood awareness walk highlights what it means to be a real dad

Caesar Sauls, Abbah Smith, Julie Williams, and Hendrien van Zyl walked 425km from Piketberg to Springbok.

Caesar Sauls, Abbah Smith, Julie Williams, and Hendrien van Zyl walked 425km from Piketberg to Springbok.

Published Sep 18, 2023


Four long-distance walkers have raised over R60 000 to promote positive fatherhood, after completing over 400km from Piketberg to Springbok on foot.

The group consisted of Abbah Smith from Vredenburg, Julie Williams from Cape Town, Caesar Sauls from Worcester and medical sister Hendrien Van Zyl from Langebaan.

Their walk kicked off on August 19 and they covered 425km over 10 days.

The walk was the brainchild of Sauls, who said walking to Springbok was a bucket list item for him.

“When I mentioned it to my friend Abbah in October 2022 he indicated that he will definitely join me and we agreed to walk from Piketberg to Springbok.

“He too always toyed with the idea of a Camino Walk and this is what the walk to Springbok would constitute.

“In prep for the forthcoming Camino Walk the team commenced with long-distance walking since November 2022.

“This was necessary given that we were set to do a marathon per day, for 10 consecutive days.

“A blessing to the group was the entry of Van Zyl, a retired nurse and seasoned trail hiker,” said Sauls.

Smith said: “Initially it was a Camino, which is a spiritual journey you undertake by walking.

Then while we were preparing last year, we decided to walk for a purpose and decided to choose an organisation that concentrated on fatherhood.

“I’m passionate about fatherhood. Isaiah 4 verse 6, speaks about our social morale declining because of lack of knowledge.

“I believe the social fabric of society is declining because of the absence of fathers in children’s lives.

“We are on a quest to go out and teach fathers their responsibility to see what they can do because the wheels are falling off, teenagers grow up and then they want to know ‘who my father is’ and single mothers bear the brunt.

“Fathers need to take responsibility, their children want their fathers to play an active role.”

Family, friends and acquaintances were approached to donate R1 per kilometre.

The proceeds would then flow to NPO Mfesane in support of strengthening and/or possibly extending their service delivery footprint.

Mfesane is an independent Christian development organisation which runs family services and work with fathers and sons. It offers family counselling, positive parenting and works with youth, as well as offers health services via its wellness clinic.

“I told people they could break up the payments by donating to the organisation every month in instalments of R50, to make it easier on supporters financially, than having to pay a big chunk once off,” Smith said.

In the end, the group managed to raise R61 847.

Mfesane chief executive, Yolandi Afrika said: “We are very thankful for the Camino group, it’s awesome for us because of the awareness that more people know about the organisation and services we offer and we really want people to know about positive fatherhood. There are a lot of positive fathers out there, but what is highlighted through the media is mostly negative, fathers who went off the road. There are more positive fathers, those fathers need to stand up in their areas and in the workplaces. We are a small programme, but we want to ask more, we train fathers to become co-facilitators. We want to empower them through resources and share what we do so they can have an impact on the fathers and sons in their communities, to spread the message and impact across the country.”

To get in contact with the organisation, Mfesane can be found on Facebook or at 022 713 2793.

Cape Times