Duo undertakes cross-country ride to change social perception on women and motorbikes

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2020 Pride of Africa Ride (POAR)
2020 Pride of Africa Ride (POAR)
Vuyi Mpofu

• Vuyi Mpofu and Bongiwe Didiza went on an inter-provincial ride on two motorbikes.

• The road trip saw them leave Gauteng for Kwazulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

• The ride gave birth to POAR: Pride of Africa Ride.

For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24

When I started out as a motorcyclist in 2019, I realised that motorbikes evoke strong emotions from people; some love them while others absolutely deplore them. With these intense reactions in mind (coupled with the knowledge that motorcycles cut across gender, class, age and racial lines), I was inspired to incorporate motorcycles into the annual Ubuntu Adventure, resulting in the birth of the Pride of Africa Ride (POAR).  

I realised that the POAR widened the scope of ubuntu beyond South Africa, and as such, the 2019 POAR was done with a small group of riders from South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. The Ride was done in different stages (legs) over a three-week period. The first leg was from Johannesburg to Maseru, Lesotho, while the second was from Johannesburg to East London, then from there to Coffee Bay.  

The 2018 Ubuntu Adventure begun as a road trip down memory lane, conceptualised as a way to reminisce about going on holidays with family during my early childhood years. True to the spirit of ubuntu, the trip focused on the societal values which embody the meaning of ubuntu, being - compassion, respect and solidarity.

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2020 Pride of Africa Ride (POAR)

Leaving it all behind

Leaving behind my heels, make-up kit and an array of wigs, I (and two bemused friends) ventured towards the coast without booking accommodation, let alone knowing exactly where we would sleep. My rather bold idea was to knock on doors in the communities we'd found ourselves in at dusk and ask for a place to sleep, similar to how my family and countless others had done in the days when strangers were treated with hospitality, not suspicion. 

The loosely structured 2019 road trip resulted saw us arriving at the village of Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape and hosted by the village's Chieftain. To pay our way, I embarked on various household chores in return for the group's stay. These included fetching water from the river, repairing a mud hut and fetching firewood - all the things I hadn't done since I was a toddler, visiting my grandparents in the village. In addition, we donated groceries equivalent to what we would have spent on accommodation: a welcome amount of R5000.

Celebrating historical highlights

In 2019, when I began learning how to ride a motorcycle, I incorporated motorcycles into the Ubuntu Adventure and renamed it the Pride of Africa. The 2019 Ride was the launchpad for future rides, which aim to celebrate and highlight various historical (and current), cultural and geographical elements in South Africa and beyond.  

The 2020 POAR was designed to get people talking about cultural diversity and, in particular, the traditional place of an African woman. In a society where many still raise a disapproving eyebrow at the sight of a non-white woman on a motorbike, Bongiwe Didiza and I ventured unaccompanied to Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

We aimed to engage with as many women (and men) as possible and raise awareness that riding a motorcycle is not the sole domain of men. Many women secretly desire to ride motorbikes, but are hindered by cultural and societal shackles. We will break those societal norms that shackle us, and we've achieved that with the 2020 POAR.

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Vuyi Mpofu (left) and Bongiwe Didiza
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