350 Bicycles to Help Mobilize the Alexandra Community!
On Thursday, 23 June 2016, 50 excited children at the Kwabhekilanga Secondary School in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg received bicycles through a partnership between the City of Joburg and Qhubeka. These bicycles will help the children travel to and from school in a faster, and safer way, thereby boosting their attendance through increased mobility.
Businesses and local government, through the City of Joburg matching programme, have sponsored a total of 350 bicycles that will be allocated to students and adults in Alexandra. The City donated one bicycle for every bicycle sponsored, and thanks to the generosity of AutoTrader (100 bicycles), Fluor (40 bicycles) and Tarsus (40 bicycles), 350 bicycles have been funded.
280 bicycles will be allocated to children and 70 bicycles will be made available for adults between Alex and their places of work in Sandton. A further 290 bicycles will be distributed in Orlando, Soweto where a bicycle distribution programme was launched last year.
Alexandra (also known as Alex) was identified as an area for bicycle distribution by the City of Joburg due to the cycling corridor that is being constructed between Alex and Sandton. Furthermore, this programme is one of the EcoMobility world festival’s legacy projects.
The festival took place in October 2015 with the aim of promoting walking, cycling and the use of public transport in Sandton.Kwabhekilanga Secondary School was selected to receive bicycles based on its position as the highest-performing school in Alex in terms of Matric pass rate in both 2014 and 2015.
The decision was also made when it was realised that the majority of schoolchildren currently walk to school. The City’s hope is that by providing schoolchildren with improved mobility, they will further boost academic performance as well as encourage a healthy lifestyle.
The objectives of the partnership between Qhubeka and City of Joburg align with the city’s goals of sustainable development and Qhubeka’s vision of building communities of excellence powered by bicycles. Learners who participate in the programme will be supported with bicycle safety and maintenance training by African Public Bicycles.
Schoolchildren who are part of the programme have to commit to safe use and storage of the bicycle and make a nominal financial contribution. This will be used by the school to fund the maintenance of the bicycles through a certified field mechanic that was selected and trained by Qhubeka.
The bicycles will be owned by the school until such time that the beneficiaries graduate from school and all contract terms are met, at which time the schoolchildren take full ownership of the bicycles.
“The City sees the distribution of bicycles to members of the Alexandra community as part of its initiative to promote cycling for affordable mobility and healthy lifestyles,” said Christine Walters, MMC for Transport in the City of Johannesburg.”
“AutoTrader saw the opportunity to set the wheels rolling by creating head-turning car branding, all in support of driving a social responsibility initiative,” says AutoTrader Marketing Manager, Tyrone Woods.
“We instantly fell in love with Qhubeka’s bicycle relief programme and the fact remains that Qhubeka is helping educate the nation and we are hoping our small part will also help #DriveChange in South Africa to. We are excited about the collaboration with likeminded organisations as well as contributing towards improving the performance of our learners in communities that we work in,” said Thabang Tawarima, Fluor’s Manager Corporate Affairs & Business Development.
This initiative will lead to a sustainable platform towards leaving a positive legacy in these communities. The learners of Kwabhekilanga Secondary School have demonstrated the qualities of commitment, hard work, perseverance and patience in being the leading school in the township of Alex, and this resonates with our company’s ethos in how we execute projects.”
The Tarsus Technology Group aims to increase access to technology, education and opportunities in order to build sustainable development. The Tarsus Technology Group are committed to being a good corporate citizen and their involvement with Qhubeka contributes to the unique needs of the learners at this secondary school.
Qhubeka Executive Director Sarah Phaweni explains that Qhubeka is a Nguni word that means “to progress” or “to move forward”.
“We are thankful to the City of Joburg, AutoTrader, Fluor and Tarsus for helping us to mobilise these children with bicycles. We believe that with their new wheels, the children will indeed progress and move forward at school.”
Qhubeka is World Bicycle Relief’s programme in South Africa.World Bicycle Releif is a global non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing education, health and economic opportunities by providing simple, sustainable transportation. Since Qhubeka’s founding in 2005, it has delivered more than 60 000 specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to people across South Africa.