Johannesburg - Six South African bikers are going on a road trip from South Africa to Tanzania for a good cause.
Sarel Nong, Neo Matsunyane, Tawanda Chatikobo, Motshwane Mabogoane, Thabo Mojapelo and Victor Magoro will take a 10-day ride to the base of Mount Kilimanjaro - and then climb it.
But before they tackle the highest peak in Africa, they first plan to ride across Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Tanzania, delivering a message to communities along the way on menstrual health and abuse of women. The team said while they aimed to speak to communities about menstrual health, they would also raise the issue of femicide because of the number of gruesome killings of women recently.
If all goes well, they'll arrive in Tanzania three days before the Trek4Mandela team begins its expedition to Kilimanjaro on 14 July. They plan to summit Kilimanjaro with the team and fly back with it.
For Nong, this has been a lifelong dream. His love of bikes started when he was in high school at Pax College outside Polokwane, and led him to co-found what is now thought to be the biggest motorcycle club in Africa - Sapa Yopa.
“I've been doing a lot of charity work around Limpopo," he said, "and the opportunity to join the trek team was amazing.”
Film-maker Matsunyane said he had always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro.
"We decided the best way for us to do this would be to ride to Tanzania instead of flying there. We want to go to the small towns and speak to the men of all the nations that we come across about gender-based violence, and try to find answers from an African-centred experience.
"I believe abuse is a very un-African thing to do.”
Mabogoane said riding for a good cause was one of the things that had brought the team together.
“We are riders, but at the core of it we want to help communities in need. We hope that by speaking to communities across the continent we will be able to change attitudes towards gender abuse and the other struggles young women and children go through.”
Chatikobo said although they were all physically fit, they have had to intensify their training regime, especially mental wellness.
“We all started training specifically for this in November last year," he said, "and right now I'm the fittest I've been in 10 years. From a fitness perspective we are great and in terms of mental preparation, we're ready.
"The way I see it, climbing a mountain is physically challenging but it is also important to have sound mental health,” he explained. “You need to be mentally fit to ride a motorcycle. You are sitting down but you need to concentrate for six to seven hours at a time, through all kinds of conditions - rain, sun, day and night, gravel and traffic.
"Bikers tend to be mentally fit because they have to.”