Activists and streetkids to walk Comrades route for the homeless

2010-06-02 00:00

NINE activists and three street children will spend the next six days walking from Pietermaritzburg to Durban along the Comrades Marathon route to raise awareness of the issue of homeless children ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

They will pass through rural areas and sleep in the open in solidarity with streetkids.

The walk, which group director and ANC ward councillor Vusi Khoza says takes place at an opportune time — the build-up to the football World Cup — is an initiative of Street Children Siza, an NGO.

“When we have big occasions like the World Cup, these children are ta­ken off the streets and hidden away from foreigners to make it seem that this problem doesn’t exist,” Khoza said. “If this can be done during big events, then why can it not be done permanently?”

The group began their walk to Durban at 11.30 am yesterday from outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall, where the Comrades Marathon began on Sunday morning.

Social Justice activist Miyere Miyandazi, who two-and-a-half years ago spent six months walking to South Africa from Kenya, said the walk will not be a race; rather its sole purpose will be to create awareness of the plight of homeless children.

“We are not going to compete anymore; competing with each other in the past has not helped us. We will walk together for humanity,” he said.

“Our children are our future. Are we going to discard them?

“There is something wrong within our society and we need to go back to our core values, and that is what we are doing here,” Miyandazi said.

The group will be walking through rural villages where they will spread the word of what they are doing.

Khoza said, “It is in the villages where something has gone wrong for these children, and we will be re-visiting our actions and traditions when we pass through them.”

He said he expects more people to join the walk along the way, although numbers are not important in an initiative that strives to provide a platform that brings the issue to the attention of society.

The team is not concerned with where they will sleep at night, either. “It will just be going through what these kids have to go through every night, so it doesn’t concern us.”

The group expects to arrive in Durban on Sunday afternoon.

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