Unogwaja, inspiring hope and togetherness new headline here please

2016-04-27 06:00
The Unogwaja Movement team make their way to the Pietermaritzburg City Hall last year from Cape Town.PHOTO: David Papenfus

The Unogwaja Movement team make their way to the Pietermaritzburg City Hall last year from Cape Town.PHOTO: David Papenfus

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THIS year Umsilinga Pirmary School in Ezinketheni will join the Unogwaja Movement, which will head to Pietermaritzburg on 28 May to complete the sixth journey from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg.

Unogwaja has grown and evolved significantly since its inception in 2011. It is a journey inspired by the story of Phil “Unogwaja” Masterton-Smith who in 1933, was living in Cape Town and could not afford the train fare to get to the Comrades Marathon.

It has now become the Unogwaja Charitable Trust with a focus on serving children within the South African primary and pre-primary school system in the belief that this is the one area that can change everything and empower our nation to create a great future.

“Unogwaja has become a movement that unites people and ignites hope within them to serve our nation, to take responsibility, to listen and to see all our people. Since Unogwaja began, it has been defined by people who just want to serve, irrespective of background, colour, creed in any way they can. And this has driven the movement forward and will continue to,” said John McInroy of the Unogwaja Movement.

The journey is between Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg and is an annual event that sees a group of ambassadors, chosen from all over South Africa and around the world, who cycle from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg in 10 days and then run the Comrades on the 11th day.

This year Unogwaja will host a procession in Cape Town’s city centre at midday on Wednesday 18 May. The movement invites the people of Pietermaritzburg to join in the final procession to the city hall on Saturday 28 May, the day before the Comrades Marathon.

McInroy said the team was introduced to Umsilinga Primary School pupils by Michael Deegan and the Pietermaritzburg and District Community Chest, who have been a partner and benefactor of Unogwaja since the start.

“The moment I met the pupils and saw the pride, perseverance and courage of the children coupled with the level of commitment and closeness to the community of the people already serving within this school and the community I knew this is where we had to be.

“We are still a very small organisation and are extremely stretched so need to tackle growth step by step in an appropriate and sustainable manner, but we are fully committed to this long journey and hopefully creating a legacy and impact that will outlive us all. Just as the legacy of Phil Masterton-Smith who died on 5 June 1942 continues to grow and impact many people,” said McInroy.

While Umsilinga Primary is one of the schools who have been approached to join the march, McInroy said that there is still an opportunity for other schools to come on board and join in the fun.

“All 1 260 pupils from Umsilinga Primary will be part of Unogwaja for the final procession and we encourage schools, businesses and people to take part. It is open to all and promises to be inspiring and a special day in our history,” he said.

To find out more about the Unogwaja Movement find it on Facebook where there is also an invite to the Pietermaritzburg procession.

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