Team Absa pedal for prosperity


Words: Bronwen Blunden

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Absa, leading South African bank and title sponsor of the highly anticipated 2014 Absa Cape Epic, has launched an SMS Campaign to increase their support of the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy (DMA).

Team Absa pedal for prosperity

The dedicated SMS competition line launched today as an initiative to spread hope and joy to youth in the Diepsloot community of Johannesburg, Gauteng. Team Absa 2014 is calling on all South Africans to get involved in the campaign and pledge their support for the DMA by simply sending an SMS to 49227 with the word ‘Epic’ between Monday 3 February and Wednesday 30 April 2014. Each SMS will equate to a R20 donation to the non-profit organisation, with the winner walking away with a Project One Trek mountain bike and a team entry into the 2015 Absa Cape Epic.

The DMA was nominated as the sole beneficiary for the efforts of Team Absa 2014 at this year’s Absa Cape Epic. The project aims to empower South African youth through the sport of cycling. The project currently supports 35 boys and 15 girls ranging from 10 to 20 years old.

André Ross, Team Absa 2014 member and Chairman of the DMA explains that over the organisation’s six-year history, many lives in the Diepsloot community have been touched by the DMA.

“Our greatest success story to date is that of William Mokgopo. William changed his destiny by focusing his talents on cycling and taking to the world stage to become an ambassador for South African mountain bikers and the country itself. We are so pleased to have William in Team Absa 2014 as his participation on this level will help raise awareness for the good work being done by the Academy.”

With two Absa Cape Epic finishes already under his belt at age 21, Mokgopo has become one of the strongest riders in Team Absa 2014. Despite his success, he remains humble and feels strongly about giving back to the DMA, his home community and his country.

“André has always taught us that in order for people to truly prosper in life, they must be willing to keep learning and to continue giving back,” Mokgopo explains. “The DMA has given me so much and I want to help as many of the other kids as I can to reach their dreams- whether it is in cycling or other paths of life. All it takes is dedication, a big heart, and a willingness to change your circumstances, and I am living proof that it can work.”

During this year’s Absa Cape Epic, taking place between 23 March and 30 March in the Western Cape, another young man’s dreams will become a reality - Tsepo Nyirenda will for the first time ride as an official entrant in the world’s premier mountain bike stage race on an Absa sponsored entry. He too will benefit from Team Absa’s past and present experience, as he will ride the race under the mentorship of Gugu Zulu, a Team Absa 2013 member and now also a trustee of the DMA.

Ross continues to say that “funds raised through the Absa Cape Epic SMS competition will be allocated to the development of a Resource Centre at the DMA. The Resource Centre will provide the stability many of these students need to continue their studies within a safe, secure and well equipped environment.”

As part of their dedication to instilling a love for learning in all their students, the DMA also sponsors bursaries to promising students or to school-leavers who would like to further their education, two of which were recently awarded to young men from the local community in order for them to further their skills in boiler making and mechanics. Future plans also include building a BMX track which will be used to teach younger children how to ride a bike.

“It is really encouraging for us to see Absa supporting the sport of mountain biking at a grass roots level and making a real impact in local communities through their sponsorship of the Absa Cape Epic” Ross concludes.

David Wingfield, Head of Marketing at Barclays Africa, says: “Absa has a proud history of supporting underprivileged communities and we are delighted to support the DMA, which continues to inspire people and make a difference in the local community. The Absa Cape Epic is all about sustainable partnerships which allow for all those involved to Prosper.”