A former Hillcrest man who was cycling across South America against rape, has been attacked in Brazil.
Jurie Botha, 41, was ambushed by two men in Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro state last week, bringing the first leg of his expedition to raise funds for the Jes Foord Foundation to an abrupt end.
“My decision is to end Run2Rio as I have a responsibility towards my son and my family. This is not the end of my adventures, nor to my efforts to make a difference in the lives of victims of rape and sexual assault,” he said.
Botha had been posting regular updates on his Facebook page, JB Adventures.
About the assault in Angra dos Reis, he wrote, “I ran past two guys standing next to the road, not thinking anything of it. Just as I passed them they grabbed my backpack and try to rip it off me, but it was strapped across my chest and waist. I fell over on to my back and immediately jumped up. As I was getting up I felt the hit to the side of my face. Instinctively I started throwing punches and managed to fight them off, then I made a run for it,” he said.
At the police station, Botha was informed that there had been similar incidents, with the thieves targeting travellers to get US dollars.
“I have been warned by just about everyone here about the crime in Brazil, but I’ve taken it with a pinch of salt as we do the same to foreigners travelling in South Africa, but still we continue with our daily lives.”
Botha had initially planned to cycle the entire distance. Run2Rio came about after his bicycle gave in and it became too time consuming and expensive to try to fix it, so instead of cycling, he decided to run.
Jurie Botha shows the injuries inflicted when he was attacked in Angra dos Reis, Brazil, last week.
The distance was equivalent to running 17 half marathons, and Botha was aiming to do it in 17 days. “That’s 365km, which is the same as the number of days in the year. Every day someone is raped or sexually assaulted. Running against rape is how I first got introduced to the Jes Foord Foundation, so I thought this would be a good way to round off my trip,” said Botha.
The expedition, initially called Cycle South Against Rape, started in May, with Botha jetting off from South Africa to Peru, where he cycled the Andes mountains, through Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
He had aimed to end the South American leg in Rio de Janeiro in time for the New Year’s Eve carnivals.
But, after the attack, he decided it was over.
His sister Estelle Visser said the family was very proud of Botha and were looking forward to seeing him when he returns home on December 19.
He would set off again on January 8 for the African leg of the Cycle South Against Rape, starting in Egypt, through 14 countries and finally ending in South Africa.
His target is to raise R250 000 for the Jes Foord Foundation.
“Your continued support, emotionally and financially, is greatly appreciated. Together we will make a difference in the lives of victims.”
Jes Foord Foundation project manager Trish Buchanan said it had been a wonderful surprise that Botha wanted to do this.
“For a South African man to stand up for rape survivors is amazing, we are honoured and happy he is safe.”
He was exactly the kind of role model the young men the foundation mentored needed, said Buchanan.
Follow Botha on JB_adventures on Facebook.
To donate click “Shop now” on the Facebook page or go to: http://www.doit4charity.co.za/Jurie_.Botha