Africa Rally: Architecture students in charity drive

2012-03-17 00:00

THIS year’s Put Foot Rally, a journey across six African countries, will have a local KZN team entering to raise money for the official charity “Bobs for Good” and Project Rhino.

Five architecture students — named the “Quarter Bunnies” — have joined forces to purchase an elegant old Mercedes for the road trip.

Her nickname is “Frau” and she is being done up in anticipation of the gruelling 6 400 kilometre race, which tests the participant’s skills, sense of direction, humour and travel hardiness.

Ursula Brunner, who has finished her architectural degree, and her brother Michael, who is also studying architecture, decided to get involved in the race, which combines the thrill of a motor rally with the fun of a charity drive.

The race allows 50 teams to enter. They start the rally on June 20 and finish on July 6, and they will visit Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Swaziland.

Many teams have entered from abroad. The two University of KZN students managed to get their friends and classmates enthralled with the idea and the momentum gathered until they had enough people for their team of five.

The three members who will swap seats in Frau are also architects in training. They are Helen Reeves, Jon-Paul Parke and Marshall Lambert.

Buying a worthy vehicle that would have enough character and mechanical toughness to withstand the long distance proved a challenge.

The Merc they chose has earned its stripes, although they hope to soon plaster its metallic paint with signage as they go in search of willing sponsors to help them achieve their dream.

Michael spotted the car on Gumtree and is quite possessive of the driver’s seat. He is quite attached to the car, but whether the old classic automatic will still be in good condition on its return remains to be seen.

Brunner said: “Although other rallies are more challenging in terms of the rough terrain, this rally is geared towards reaching scenic destinations within a specific time period. The aim is to enjoy the journey and to also collect funds along the way.”

Some teams will be distributing educational materials and others will be doing research projects, and the Quarter Bunnies will be trying to educate people about rhino poaching. They are passionate about the cause and hope they can get sponsors to help them to accomplish this mission.

Reeves said: “We need people to help us out with the logistical costs. The car needs new tyres and we need to have her serviced and get some decent roof racks. A petrol sponsor would be fantastic as the cost of fuel is a huge chunk of our budget!”

The team is also looking for camping equipment as they will be camping most nights under the stars. While two of the architecture students have organised study leave the others have decided to make it part of their “study practicals”.

They doubt they will get on each other’s nerves, as there is plenty to see and do on the trip — and the old car has a functioning radio.

The five team members see the rally as an adventure where they can see the countryside and bond as team members.

•Follow the build-up to their trip on their blog:

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