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Two South African women embark on a Long Walk in honour of Tata


Words & Photo: Uproar Communications

On International Mandela Day, 18 July 2014, two South African women will embark on a Long Walk to Tata’s childhood village of Qunu to raise funds towards construction of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, in what is being called, The Long Walk to Qunu.

Sane Nkabinde and Irene Rugheimer, under the banner of The Dark Rose Foundation, will travel nearly 840 kilometres through extreme weather conditions and bad terrain in a bid to raise R500 000 towards construction of what is said to be a world-class, highly specialised children’s hospital.

The hospital is located on Wits land in Parktown Johannesburg and is in close proximity to the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital. It will work on a referral basis and will serve as a training and research facility for highly skilled paediatricians in the Southern African region.

Founder of The Dark Rose Foundation and adventure enthusiast, Sane says, “Irene and I are passionate about giving back and that’s how we met and ended working together on The Dark Rose Foundation. The Long Walk to Qunu project came up and who can say No to something so amazing?!”

The Dark Rose Foundation is an NPO that’s set up specifically, to raise funds on behalf of charity organisations that support the alleviation of poverty and hunger as well as protect the rights of women and children.

Sane continues, “Madiba paved the way, it’s time we ordinary South Africans took the gauntlet and continued his amazing work”.

Spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, Vuyo Lutseke, says, “We are thrilled to see The Dark Rose Foundation embark on this monumental journey to contribute towards construction of the hospital”.

Lutseke further says, ‘ground was broken in early March this year however, we need as much money as possible, for this facility to compete with the best in the world. We need to furnish the hospital with the latest hi-tech medical devises and equipment.”

Irene, who has summited Mt Kilimanjaro, Russia’s highest peak, Mt Elbrus as well as Grand Teton in the US describes herself as an adventure addict says, “When Sane first mentioned the idea of walking to Qunu, I thought she’d lost her mind, but who can refuse to take part in something so deeply rewarding? I’m honoured and humbled to form part of something so great. We are travelling to the place Madiba spent his formative years in. It’s going to be hard but it will be worth it.”

We’d like to challenge individuals and corporates to come on board and support our cause joining us in the first 67 minutes. The participation fee is set at R67 for ALL individuals. Corporates looking for a worthwhile team activity for Mandela Day can contribute R67 per individual participating.

Members of the public can get involved by sending the word longwalk to 40021. The sms costs R20 and free sms’ do not apply.

Interested sponsors can contact Dark Rose Foundation on www.darkrose.org.za or via email on

The duo, has been training rigorously for the task ahead. Individually, they train about six days a week for two hours at a time and together, they take on the steep West-Cliff Stairs near Rosebank every Sunday.

The Long Walk will commence on International Mandela Day, 18 July 2014, from the construction site in Parktown. Celebrities, socialites, musicians and members of the public are urged to show up in numbers at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

South Africans are invited to join in the first 67 minutes. The walk will set-off at exactly 07h00 that morning. Irene and Sane will set off with a crowd made up of ordinary South Africans in tow for 67 minutes in a silent showcase to Tata’s cause where 27 white doves will be released and allowed to fly freely. From here, Sane and Irene will continue the walk on their own through Lesotho to reach Qunu. At about 35 km’s per day on foot, this walk is estimated to take the 27 days to compete in honour of the 27 years Tata spent in prison.

Groups and schools are urged to come through to see the duo off and wish them well on their journey. For more information, follow the Dark Rose Foundation on Twitter on @darkosefund and on Facebook on www.facebook.com/DarkRose