“This race is aimed at everyone, all South Africans feel welcome to come join in the fun and step up to the challenge,” said East London resident, Attawaell Masupha, “All the different professions are here and they’re all good people, eager to talk to me about the upcoming East London to Cape Town run.”
Yes, you read correctly, Attawaell and his friend Linda Poyo will be taking 23 days to run 1050 kilometres to the Mother City, all for Haven.
In 2010, his friend introduced him to the Parkside Haven Wellness Centre, a hub for people living with HIV/Aids in East London.
“There are many false and damaging stigmas in the black communities about HIV and Aids,” said Attawaell, “Often family members and friends are abandoned when they contract this disease, at a time when they especially need love and support.”
The Haven Wellness Centre offers HIV/Aids support programmes to surrounding areas like Buffalo Flats, Parkridge, Pefferville, Duncan Village and Iziphunzana. Haven is currently supporting between 30 to 40 residents who have all been neglected by relatives due to their disease and have no where to go. A soup kitchen and education programme is also held regularly at the centre and they never turn a child away, and as a result have over 200 children rely on them.
“I couldn’t just fold my arms and not help,” said Attawaell, “I also couldn’t donate any money to them because I don’t have any, but what I do have is time and energy, so I can give them that!”
Attwaell will be leaving on March 2 with his friend, Linda Poyo, to run from East London to Cape Town. This will be the third time they will be completing such a tremendous task. The last time they did it was in 2008 and they were accompanied by American runner, Bob Sollis. That plight helped raise two and a half million rand for an orphanage in Komga.
This time round they are aiming to raise one and a half million rand for Heaven, an amount that can make the world of difference to fellow South Africans desperate for help. “He’s always raising the plight of his fellow shack dwellers,” said town planner Albi Meiring and friend to Attwaell, “A true community leader!”
“The Discovery Surfers Challenge is an essential part of my warm up before we leave on the 23 day run.” Attawaell explained how the race tests your fitness levels in a more realistic way. You can’t always hope for good tarred roads or nice, dry sand. The Discovery Surfers Challenge is a race that grounds you, putting you in contact with the elements.“Often in struggling communities, we’re used to having white people organise charity for us, but now it’s time for all of us to play our parts,” said Attawaell. “Just because materialistically you have nothing, doesn’t mean you can’t give something.” Just another way that a healthy mind and body is shaping South Africa for the better