SA legends Radebe, Pienaar rally expats to walk for Covid-19 relief

South African sports legends Francois Pienaar and Lucas Radebe are calling on South Africans living across the world to slip on their walking shoes and join The Solidarity Walk initiative – a virtual fundraising initiative hoping to get people from all over to cover a total distance of 3 885 km – the distance from Cape Town to Beitbridge (a town in Zimbabwe, on the border with South Africa) and back to the Mother City. The organisers,  the South African Chamber of Commerce, are aiming to attract South African expats, hoping they will get involved to help contribute to the Covid-19 relief project in their home country. The Solidarity Walk will take place between the 29th and 31st August 2020. For more information on this great initiative, visit the website at: www.southafricanchamber.co.uk, or see below for their social media channels. – Jarryd Neves

South African Chamber of Commerce (UK) media statement: 

Rugby and football legends François Pienaar (Springboks) & Lucas Radebe (Leeds United) lead South Africa on a new walk to freedom from Covid-19 to make a difference. 

South Africans living in the UK, Australia, USA, New Zealand, Germany and Canada are being called on by Francois Pienaar and Lucas Radebe to aid the country through its Covid-19 crisis.

A ‘Solidarity Walk’ has been launched internationally with the help of sports celebrities, by the South African Chamber of Commerce in the UK, to aid South Africa economically as it faces the Covid-19 crisis. SA Chamber organisers are hoping to attract support from expatriate South Africans living in UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The Solidarity Fund has already raised R3-billion (£135m) from business and individuals in SA primarily.

This SA Chamber fundraising initiative, launched on the 18th of July, former President Nelson Mandela’s birthday, is aimed at South Africans at home and particularly those living abroad. 

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Francois Pienaar, one of the true giants of the rugby worlds, is an ambassador for the initiative. He is best known for leading South Africa to victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

He comments: “The Covid-19 situation we face currently has echoes in rugby. We are facing an implacable opposition team that is playing dirty. We’ve reached the point where we are staring defeat in the face. So it is now that we have to change gears and dig deep, find the courage and energy and belief that we can win. And give it our all. I’m asking South Africans to put their legs on the line and walk to freedom from this disease, and their hands in their pockets to help us beat this deadly enemy. With your help I know we can win and beat this killer. Let us do this together, one nation to save the nation. Thank you.”

Some of the biggest contributions to the Solidarity Fund come from: Mary Oppenheimer and daughters, Naspers Ltd, the Elma South African Foundation, the Hasso Plattner  Foundation, the South African Government, Allan and Gill Gray Philanthropy Ltd, Lottery SA, Telesure Investment Holdings.

The Solidarity Walk initiative is a virtual challenge for people to join and collectively cover 2414 miles / 3885 km over the UK bank holiday, this coming weekend – 29th to 31st August. This is the furthest distance across South Africa, clocking kilometres from Cape Town to Beitbridge and back again! 

The total collective distance will be displayed on the SA Chamber website along with a moving map to show current progress in miles. Another counter will show the total funds raised with all donations going directly to the Solidarity Fund.

Francois Pienaar is a key part of a team of leading South Africans driving this fund raising initiative. They include inter alia Lucas Radebe, former Leeds United FC and Bafana Bafana footballer; Andre Snyman, former South African rugby Springbok, rugby coach in the USA and the UK and currently Head Rugby Coach for Hill House School in the UK and SA renowned singer songwriters, PJ Powers and Karen Zoid.

Sharon Constançon, Chair of the South African Chamber of Commerce in London, said: “To all those expatriate South Africans who have never lost touch with the land of their birth and love South Africa, my message is: ‘The country needs you now as never before, and with this corruption free, ring-fenced project, your money will help to carry South Africa through the worst of the Covid-19 crisis. South Africa needs you’.”

Most popular destinations for South African émigrés are: Australia 26%, United Kingdom 25%, United States 13,4%, New Zealand 9,5%, Germany 6%, Samoa 4,4%, United Arab Emirates 4,2%, Cuba 4%, Canada 3% and China 2%.

The SA Chamber also aims to raise awareness and donations for the Solidarity Fund, supporting achieving clarity on the Fund, its mission, decision making and governance.

#SolidarityWalk is a symbol of unity encouraging businesses, groups and individuals around the world to support the Solidarity Fund in strengthening critical prevention, detection, care and support activities for those impacted by the pandemic in South Africa.

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Lucas Radebe, Leeds United FC and Bafana Bafana Football Legend, said, “The SA Chamber’s Solidarity Walk is a great way to show support for the Solidarity Fund. I will be walking in solidarity with the South African diaspora and friends of our nation who want to recognise the work of those helping the country overcome the pandemic. Let’s do it”

Andre Snyman, the veteran Springbok player said, “Supporting initiatives that contribute to the Solidarity Fund has never been so important. We all have a role to play, the pandemic has left so many families destitute with little or no source of income, making the role of initiatives such as the Solidarity Walk even more crucial.”

Fun challenge

Sharon Constançon, Chair of the SA Chamber warmly welcomed the high-profile support, saying: “We are excited to partner with well-loved and well-respected personalities from SA and abroad for the Solidarity Walk. We believe that our celebrity ambassadors will inspire people to register to complete their chosen mileage on foot in any way they choose from 29th to 31st August.”  

This fun challenge offers South Africans, citizens in the diaspora and friends of the nation, the opportunity to get involved in social groups, families or individually at home. 

Participants are reminded to check local public health guidelines when planning their activity. 

Individuals and businesses will be recognised with e-certificates by the respected business network that promotes bi-lateral trade between South Africa and the UK, being awarded for those who participate in the one-off global event. 

To truly make a difference to South Africans, register your participation for the walk today, every mile counts, no involvement is too little – let’s do this together: https://southafricanchamber.co.uk/event/events.php?eid=586

EVENT DETAILS

Date: Any one or more days from 29th to 31st August 2020

Time: At any time that suits you, within the 3 days

Place: Wherever you wish to exercise – close to home, a park, your garden, one of the suggested routes – wherever it is easy to access and safe

With whom: Alone, with your family, with friends, with a social group formed for the event

Cost: £1,50 (approx. R35) to register – optional refund from final donation

Donation: Any amount, see website below for instructions

Sponsorship: Raising money at an amount per mile walked, encourages you to walk further

Activity: As long as you are moving on foot you can join – walking, running, hiking, pushing a pram, walking the dog; you and your family’s steps count too. 

Social Media:

Twitter: @SAChamberUK #SolidarityWalk

Facebook: @SouthAfricanChamberUK #SolidarityWalk

Instagram: @SAChamberUK #SolidarityWalk

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/south-african-chamber-of-commerce-uk/  #SolidarityWalk

For more info : www.southafricanchamber.co.uk

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