THEIR 27-DAY CHALLENGE: Mthetheleli Myaka, left, and Grant Jansen will be the first people allowed on Robben Island for 20 consecutive days to embark on their 27-day Mandela Day Charity Challenge, which begins today and ends on July 18, which is Nelson Mandela's birthday.
Two endurance athletes are set to begin an “exile” on Robben Island today where they will run and cycle 4666.4 km in 27 days for charity.

Local athletes Grant Jansen and Mthetheleli Myaka will be the first to be allowed on Robben Island for 20 consecutive days to embark on the 27-day Mandela Day Charity Challenge.

The challenge ends on July 18, which is Madiba’s birthday.

It entails Jansen and Myaka running and cycling set distances daily, until they have completed the challenge.

Ordinary citizens and corporates can also participate by donating money to the challenge.

Every R1000 raised is the equivalent of 1km.

Celebrity guests and corporate leaders will also be participating to help Jansen and Myaka exceed their target.

“The time spent on Robben Island is going to be mentally draining and tedious as we’re doing the same thing over and over, because the island is big,” Jansen said.

He said the gruelling challenge will never match what the prisoners and stalwarts like Mandela had to endure during their incarceration.

“We’ve got a goal in mind and we know that what we’re doing is going to make a difference in the lives of ordinary South Africans,” the athletes said.

The money raised will go towards giving children from underprivileged backgrounds the chance to visit the island on excursions. They also hope to provide 1000 young girls with menstrual cups.

Through Jansen’s Takla Foundation, the challenge will also be assisting with their Marathon Runners’ Programme, which assists athletes from underprivileged communities with a full range of support and the International & Local Sports Tours Programme, which takes children from townships to participate in tournaments in local and international cities.

“The baton has been handed over to us and we can complain and say whatever we like, but if we are not galvanised, nothing will change,” Jansen said.

The two athletes have both participated in long-distance athletic events locally and internationally.

They have declined invites to new challenges to focus on this event, they said.

@Chulu_M