Rhino guy ban stands, says cycle tour organisers

2014-01-27 13:46
Steve Newman is urging South Africans to fight rhino poaching. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Steve Newman is urging South Africans to fight rhino poaching. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - The ban meted out to rhino campaigner Steve Newman is still in effect for the 2014 race, the organisers for the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour have said.

Newman, also known as the Naked Skydiver, was banned in 2013 for breaching the rules on his attire during the annual race that has become a Cape Town institution.

He told News24 that a communication of Twitter gave him the impression that the ban was lifted, but the cycle tour organisers rejected this.

"The communication via Twitter was not made with the Cycle Tour committee as stated in your email but rather with a staff member from our media office who was not aware of the decision made the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust," wrote Tish Lambert, Race Office manager in an e-mail.

Newman regularly participates in events wearing only his "horn" as he runs a virtual one-man campaign against rhino poaching.

Fundraising platform

However, the cycle tour organisers faced complaints from people over Newman's dress and took the decision to ban him for the 2014 race, which kicks off on 9 March.

"We encourage the creativity that is typically Cape Town - no question about that - but the difficulty for the Trust is retaining some form of dignity.

"We live in a multi-cultural society where nudity of that nature is offensive to certain people, and we must be sensitive to that," David Bellairs, Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust director told News24 as reasoning for the ban.

Newman was banned under rule "2.15:  A rider shall wear clothing appropriate for a family event at all times", said Bellairs who noted that 111 charities, affecting 7 500 cyclists, use the event as a fundraising or awareness platform.

Major sponsor Pick n Pay threw its weight behind the organisers.

"As one of the two naming sponsors of the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, Pick n Pay supports the organisers of the race in decisions they make regarding riders adhering to the rules and regulations for dress during the race, and race etiquette," said Malcolm Mycroft General Manager Marketing Pick n Pay.

Bellairs said that the cycle tour welcomed costumes for the race, but that it should be done in a way that was sensitive to "family values".

"We encourage participants to 'dress up'. However, we must remain cognisant of the fact that we are a family event that embraces family values. The outfit worn by Steve last year was deemed to have contravened the acceptable norms for a family orientated event passing through public areas," he said.

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Here's a YouTube video of Steve "Naked Skydiver" Newman doing a naked skydive to raise awareness about the plight of the rhino.
Read more on:    pick n pay  |  cape town  |  rhino poaching

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