TOMORROW approximately 2 000 enthusiastic runners and athletes will take to the streets for the annual RCS Gugs Reconciliation Race.
The race, which is hosted and sponsored by the Gugulethu Athletics Club, financial services provider, RCS and the Cape Times, has been held for the past 16 years on Reconciliation Day, December 16.
Gugulethu is one of the oldest townships in Cape Town and where many black people were forced to live when they were forcibly removed by the apartheid government.
Tomorrow’s race is important for the Cape Times, which this year celebrates its 140th anniversary, as well as parent company, Independent Media.
Driving social change is integral to Independent Media’s transformation strategy.
This event underscores the company’s vision to bring together diverse readership communities and offer platforms where readers can communicate and share, as well as being informed and entertained.
Part of reconciliation is for people to get to know each other and to find common ground.
The festivities will include music, a jumping castle and to a space to relax and meet new people.
According to Independent Media’s Executive Chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé, the RSC Gugs Race day is a fitting conclusion to a year in which the company committed itself to championing several social change initiatives, as part of its overall strategy to promote the transformative role of the media in South Africa.
Some of these initiatives included:
l Racism Stops With Me – an ongoing campaign which tackles and highlights racism in our society
l #DignityProject – which highlighted the daily struggles of homeless people
l [email protected] – which celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Youth Uprising
l #Independent Women – which celebrated the 60th anniversary of the iconic women’s anti-pass march to the Union Buildings in 1956
l A Million Comforts campaign – which culminated in the donation of 4.3 million sanitary pads to girls at underprivileged schools, and
l The Young Independents – a platform to inspire SA’s youth driven by youth
l Our #DontLookAway campaign – during the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children, was to bring awareness that everyone has to stand up and take action
Dr Survé says Independent Media advocates for social change and the company has an ardent desire to represent the South African voices of those who have previously been repressed or ignored.
“Our tumultuous socio-economic climate has made many of us cynical about believing any, if not all, social change claims.
"However, over the course of Independent Media’s 'reboot', there is a clear timeline indicating its intentions.
"And it clearly says we are agents of social change and unapologetic about it.”
In the true spirit of reconciliation, participants from all over will tackle the 10km or 4km race.
The 10km route starts at NY 3 from 7am.
It will take runners by the iconic Gugulethu 7 and the Amy Biehl memorials and end at the Gugulethu Stadium in NY 49.
Along the way participants will pass the Gugulethu Square and the Nyanga Junction Shopping Centres.
The two landmarks are the results of pioneering Gugulethu businesspeople, Mzoli Ngcawuzele and Zithulele “Kk” Combi.
Partnering with the Gugulethu Reconciliation Race is a significant step for the Cape Times.
Over the past three years the Cape Times has consciously remade itself, from a newspaper which served a few, to one that is a voice for all.
Editor Aneez Salie says: “The Cape Times is a newspaper that seeks to build bridges within and between communities, giving a voice to those who had been silenced and mostly ignored for decades.
"We’re a voice for all.
"That is why we’re delighted and honoured to be part of this Reconciliation Race.”
"This year, the Cape Times has embarked on a strategy to reach out to its various readership communities.
"This included hosting a series of Breakfast Meetings in readership communities, including Khayelitsha and Lansdowne, as well as the Atlantic seaboard.
"Being the official media partner of this event, which is located in Gugulethu and which reaches out directly to the local community, as well as its broader readership base, is in line with the outreach strategy."
According to the latest All Media and Products Survey (AMPS), 78 percent of the readership of the Cape Times is black (African, Coloured and Indian) and 45 percent of the readership fall within the 9-10 Living Standards Measure and 37 percent are within the 7-8 LSM.