Seven matriculants and their support team are about to embark on an adventurous journey of a lifetime. They will be travelling 3,500 km across South Africa in the most unsuitable transport ‘the humble tuk tuk’ to raise money for St. Francis Care Centre in Boksburg, a hospice and Aids care centre.
Their route will commence from the care centre in Johannesburg on the 27th December 2014 and will end in Cape Town on the 11th January 2015, they will be travelling along the lesser known roads through Welkom, Landybrand, Durban, the Garden Route, Karoo and finally Cape Town. It will not only be about fun and adventure, but stopovers at charitable organizations and goodie bag drop offs are planned.
The trip was inspired by a similar tuk tuk race through India in which competitors are required to raise money for charity. In this case, the boys have decided to explore their own country and taking on the challenge to see if the humble tuk tuk can do the challenging journey. The boys are however well prepared, armed with tools and spares to keep the tuk tuk running.
The St Francis Care Centre was built by Father Stan Brennan several decades ago. It was started as an Aids hospice. However, now that Aids treatment has changed, it caters for anyone who needs care. It now has a 48 bed facility for adults and the Rainbow Cottage to care for neglected and orphaned children. The boys love spending time with the little ones and it’s not often that the children get the opportunity to play rowdy and boisterous games unless these matric boys come over to play.
“Originally, we wanted to take part in a similar adventure in India, but this proved to be too costly. We then thought if we brought the same idea to South Africa, we could make it more relevant, raise money and create an event that will provide a sustainable income for local charities for years to come. We chose the St. Francis Care Centre because it is one of the smaller charities that doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves. The Centre is a true place of miracles,” says Ayrton Da Silva, Founder of Project Colour.
The boys are currently matriculants at St John’s College, Bishop Bavin School, Beaulieu College and St Benedicts College. All seven boys – bar one – live in Ekurhuleni and are committed to helping community projects in their area. The boys have all been friends for years, mostly through their sporting connections.
Ayrton da Silva, the founder, along with Thomas Coward and Sebastian Julicher all rowed internationally. Brenden Crawford is currently in the South African swimming team. Michael Greeff is the geeky, but good-looking glue that holds the team together, Lebo is the clear comedian and Ruan is the tough guy who will take on tough situations.
Tuks tuks may be a common sight in Asia, but they’re only just catching on in South Africa. They are small and compact and have the tiniest of engines – glorified lawnmowers really. Other than a small roof, they are open to all weather conditions, so the tuk tuks are not usually used on long journeys. However, the boys are hoping that the quirky and novel looks of the tuk tuks will attract attention wherever they go. The goal is to raise money through sponsorships and donations. They already have a number of prominent sponsors on board, such as: ACDC Dynamics, Atul Auto, Altech Netstar, Canon, Fournos Bakery Group, Cell C, Microsoft, Jasco, Safari 4x4 Hire, Rowlin National Brokers and Carpa Surveillance.
They are hoping that this will be just the first race of this kind through the country and that it could become an annual event, to provide a sustainable income for charities across South Africa.