Ntunja’s Gugs, a life of fun, walk

2016-02-04 06:00
 Tourists enjoying some cheers from locals near the Gugulethu 7 Statues at Steve Biko Road.

Tourists enjoying some cheers from locals near the Gugulethu 7 Statues at Steve Biko Road.

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Gugulethu basketball player and radio personality Vincent Ntunja is on a mission to change the perceptions tourists and outsiders might have about this township.

Ntunja is hosting a guided tour with a difference through the vast township by including a bit of athletics and fun.

“We call it Gugs Run/Walk and it’s a over a stretch of 10km where we take them to all major tourist attractions in Gugulethu such as the Amy Biehl Memorial, Gugulethu Seven Memorial, Gugulethu Square, Vincent Ntunja Basketball Court and Mzoli’s Place just to name a few,” he said.

The aim of the tour , he says, is to promote healthy-lifestyle and also tell the history of his neighbourhood.

“We are showing off Gugulethu to tourists and locals alike because some of them don’t know their history,” he said.

The run/walk takes place every first Saturday of the month and its cost R50 which includes the guided tour and pictures.

“Ntunja is a successful national basketball player, a model, a television presenter and a philanthropist who’s travelled the world.

This run is about more than just clocking distances and speed; it’s about soaking up the atmosphere of this vibrant community, interacting with the people you come across in the streets, learning more about the sometimes tragic history of the area, as well as seeing how far Gugs has come and how the people have united and grown with an enormous sense of pride and love for their ‘hood’. - Karsten Thomsen

“Vince is the perfect running guide for ‘Run Gugulethu’ – a proud resident of Gugulethu, he has travelled the world representing South Arica in basketball at both junior and senior level, and has met basketball icon Michael Jordan, winning the Most Valuable Player Award out of 500 kids at his camp in Los Angeles.

Nowadays Vince is a successful professional model, TV presenter, motivational speaker and holds a degree in Sports Tourism. He recently became the new sports presenter at Bush Radio. The name Gugulethu comes from the Xhosa words “igugu lethu” which means “our pride”, and Vince definitely does a great job of sharing his Gugs - with pride - with participants on this running tour of Gugulethu!” explains Philippa Jephson

I enjoyed the run very much, it was eye opening to learn how other people live. It’s better than being on the bus, you get to witness the “realness” of the township.- Allison Mackrell

Growing up in Gugulethu, SA basketball player Vincent Ntunja was a natural on the sports field.

“Coming from Gugs became my force to succeed. If you survive the township life, you’re bound to succeed anywhere on planet earth,” he said.

He’s grateful to his supportive family who encouraged him to get an education while he pursues his basketball career.

He also models, presented a segment on SABC 1’s “Slam Dunk” and is a brand representative for Bronx Men’s footwear.

Giving back is important to the star who is involved in Hoops for Hope, an international NGO that uses basketball to reach out to underprivileged kids. He’s also proud of the basketball court in the heart of the Gugulethu sport centre which is named after him. “Despite my own achievements, my mission is to continue to make a difference in people’s lives in the best possible way”.

“My basketball achievements have gone way beyond my expectations. Getting to meet basketball icon Michael Jordan and winning the Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) out of 500 kids at his camp in Los Angeles rates as one of my top achievements”.

Ntunja says because the sport is not as famous as rugby and cricket, it’s important to have passion.

“There’s no substitute for hard work, I believe I was meant to be where I am but I’m always conscious of the hard work it took to get me there.”

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