PMB duo take on epic walk

2016-10-24 12:17
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.

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. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg duo Thommo Hart and Simphiwe Ngcobo have embarked on the 1 800 km John Ross Challenge “expedition” beyond home borders to raise money for charities.

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 John Ross 200 years ago for their own good causes.

Their journey, which started at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on August 28, is set to pass through Zululand, Pongola, Swaziland, Mpumalanga and Mozambique and then come back into South Africa along its coastline to Durban.

The journey will take three months to complete.

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

Hart told The Witness 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 who was 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 minivan 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 kwaNdengezi township near Durban.

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

“Thommo started off as my mentor in 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 added that the journey has been “awesome” and adventurous.

“The people we meet along the way are so encouraging and some even open up their homes 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 highly grateful for the privilege to walk on their wilderness coastline that very few have had the privilege of seeing and experiencing,” said Hart.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  charity

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