A special brunch was hosted at Rosebank Union Church’s Amphitheatre on Saturday morning, 18 November, in order to celebrate and thank the 60 cyclists who would be riding this year’s gruelling Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge as “Hope on Wheels Ambassadors”  for Rays of Hope the next day.

The Cycle Challenge is one of the country’s top fund-raising events.  Numerous charities benefit from the efforts of approximately 150 teams enter to “Ride for a Purpose”.  The Rays of Hope team features among them.

Although not all 60 peddlers could be present, all those who came (some accompanied by their families and friends), were handed a generous goody bag upon signing in. Everyone sat under shady umbrellas to chat in a relaxed atmosphere, to exchange cycling information, and to tuck into a marvellous buffet whilst getting to know one another prior to the BIG RACE!.

Each enrolled cyclist will raise much-needed funds for Rays of Hope for its various community‑based programmes in

Alexandra township.  For this commendable effort, despite the difficult economic times, they were heartily thanked by the CEO of Rays of Hope, Sihle Mooi.

The Rays of Hope team included eight young Development Cyclists: Angela Hiliza-Ellensson, Rudzani Ramashia, Tsholofelo Mohlabe, Agrippa “Biff” Bele, Michael Mothabe, Bongani Mhambi, Vuyisani “Leslie” Arosi and Mokgotho “Ben” Pheeha.  

Sihle Mooi, Rays of Hope, Executive Director pointed out that Alexandra and Sandton were two very disparate areas that are marked by sharp contrasting divisions in terms of rich vs poor, black vs white divide.  Rays of Hope’s mandate was to bridge these rifts by reaching out to assist the needy, unfortunate and disadvantaged via specialised social, humanitarian and medical programmes.

The aim was not to be condescending or to simply feel sorry for the unfortunate, but to recognise their dignity, worth and their abilities, and to engage meaningfully with them in a partnership relationship. He said: “We don’t just do things for them but we come alongside them and stay with them through the ups and downs of life, till they discover the gold inside them and start believing in themselves.”  

It was a transformation in which both sides stood to benefit and to grow.  “This is possible because we are all made of

the same stuff in God’s image.”  He emphasised that partnerships paved the way for real relationships and friendships, apart from promoting reconciliation by creating a new dynamic in these relationships between the rich suburbs and the poor townships. A guest speaker Thakgi Makgoba, Rays of Hope’s Food Project Coordinator and ex Rose-Act Saturday School student, testified about her personal journey as a beneficiary of Rays of Hope.                                                                                                                                                            Charis Erasmus, Rays of Hope Fundraising and Events Manager, gave recognition to the following individuals:

Geraldine O’Reilly, Shanel Munger and Brett France for their valiant efforts in recruiting additional team members; veteran cyclist Ian Anderson for his enthusiastic support over many years; and members of the RoH Cycling Committee: Catherine Wright, Judy van der Wagen, Geraldine O’Reilly, Wendy Madden, Shanel Munger, Myles Rowse and Sarah van Zyl.