PMB duo take on epic walk, barefoot

2016-11-02 06:03
                                                PHOTO: supplied  Thommo Hart and Simphiwe Ngcobo are taking part in the 1 800km John Ross Challenge walk from Pietermaritzburg to Maputo and back to raise money for charity.

PHOTO: supplied Thommo Hart and Simphiwe Ngcobo are taking part in the 1 800km John Ross Challenge walk from Pietermaritzburg to Maputo and back to raise money for charity.

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PIETERMARITZBURG duo Thommo Hart and Simphiwe Ngcobo embarked on the 1 800 km John Ross Challenge expedition beyond home borders to raise money for charity.

A young boy named John Ross became an icon in 1827 after going to Mozambique on foot to fetch medical supplies. Ngcobo and Hart intend to follow the path taken by Ross 200 years ago for their own worthy causes.

Their journey, which started at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on 28 August will pass through Zululand, Pongola, Swaziland, Mpumalanga and Mozambique and then return to South Africa along coast to Durban.

The journey will take three months to complete.

“We hope to finish on 5 November at the John Ross statue in Durban on Victoria Embankment,” said Hart.

Hart said he is undertaking the journey barefoot to set a world record for the longest journey across land, barefoot.

Hart lost his mother, Juliet Armstrong, to brain cancer in 2012. Armstrong was a world-renowned ceramicist, well known for her work in bone china and research on Zulu pottery.

After her death he founded Expeditionists and created the John Ross Challenge as a way to help fight cancer.

“We love nothing more than a journey with purpose. My John Ross Challenge aims to raise funds for a lifesaving mobile cancer testing and treatment mini-van for KwaZulu-Natal’s rural and township areas,” said Hart.

Ngcobo is raising funds for Empilweni Community Centre for the physically challenged that cares for mentally and physically challenged children in the kwaNdengezi township near Durban.

Ngcobo and Hart met when they were studying at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and came together to take part on this life-changing journey.

“Thommo started off as my mentor at varsity. We later became business partners, but our relationship has developed into a very strong friendship over time. We help keep each other going during our journey,” said Ngcobo.

Ngcobo said the journey has been “awesome” and adventurous.

“The people we meet along the way are so encouraging and some even open up their home to us and offer us a place to sleep and food - it’s amazing,” said Ngcobo.

The duo got a permit from the iSimangaliso Wetland Park authority to walk through the St Lucia Game Reserve in Hluhluwe from Kosi Bay to Maphelane along the beach without leaving any human impact.

“We are very grateful for the privilege of walking on their wilderness coastline that very few have had the opportunity of seeing and experiencing,” said Hart.

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