Long walk to adventure for five men in honour of Madiba

2013-08-01 00:00

A SPIDER bite or two, a couple of pairs of shoes later and inventive ways to dish up bully beef. Adventure is what Darryl Atwell (37) from Kimberley in the Northern Cape wanted, and now, with almost 1 700 km of road behind him and four fellow walkers, he is ready to leave the coast behind and head inland.

“Gandhi said, ‘be the change you want to see in other people’, and we want to add to that: be the blessing to others, in the same manner you wish to receive it,” Atwell explained yesterday.

“We wanted to challenge ourselves, but also other people who we meet along the way, to start looking at life differently. In essence, this is a walk for our beloved Madiba, to honour his greatness and the way he makes us look at our lives daily.”

That is also why the group display the South African flag proudly as they walk through the country. They are expected to reach Durban later tonight, after departing from Scottburgh en route to Amanzimtoti. But their journey started way back in Cape Town on March 1, with Atwell and good friend Anthony Esterhuysen (35) starting out “on a whim”.

They share a background in the hospitality industry, and left their jobs on this “journey of discovery and blessing”.

By the time they reached East London, they were joined by semi-retired Bert Meyer (59) from Cape Town, IT specialist Rudi Engelbrecht (25) fron Vanderbijlpark and Willem du Plooy (40), also from Cape Town.

“These guys joined me and Anthony because they share our beliefs, and want to see the world become a better place.

“That is what we share wherever we encounter people. Everybody has been so good to us on this trip, and this enforces the notion of the goodness of people. We get tremendous support from our families and complete strangers!”

Everyone they meet is invited to write their name on the flag, which they hope they will be able to hand over to Nelson Mandela’s family.

Covering up to 30 km per day, the group subscribe firmly to the belief that life is a journey, not a destination. So with this in mind, they hope to reach Cape Town again by Christmas, but if not, they will take it in their stride.

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