Not even the constant drizzle or protest on the R43 could dull the excitement and boisterous spirit of the cyclists, runners, and boat crew from the Military Academy in Saldanha for the final leg of Exercise Trans Enduro charity drive to Cape Town earlier today (7 December).
The annual Trans Enduro 11-day event, started in Qunu in the Eastern Cape, the birthday place of Madiba in honour of the Nelson Mandela 100 celebrations. This year’s race is themed “Thuma mina” in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for South Africans to “accept the call to selflessly serve the embattled nation”.
Brigadier General Lourens Mbatha said this race inevitably wells up a feeling of nostalgia as many reflect on the passing of the iconic Nelson Mandela. “That day will forever be linked to the Military Academy and this wonderful effort,” he said.
While the participants test their endurance on land and sea, the land team moved from town to town, raising funds for Stellenbosch University’s community service projects and the academy’s MASIZA initiative. They also do upliftment projects at crèches, schools and homes for the elderly in the towns they visit, while another team goes into the various communities to raise funds and create awareness about the Military Academy.
Overstrand Executive Mayor, Dudley Coetzee, welcomed the students to Hermanus and commended the commanders on the iconic Trans Enduro initiative, which is designed to develop leadership skills, promote team building, endurance and discipline. It further aims to enhance understanding of the practical issues related to community service as students do community work along the way.
It is also tradition that the mayor of each town writes a letter of goodwill to the mayor of the next town. In keeping with tradition, Mayor Dudley Coetzee received a letter of goodwill from the Mayor of Agulhas, Paul Swart and handed over Overstrand’s letter to exercise commander Lieutenant Patrick van Niekerk who will deliver it to the mayor of the next town.
Mayor Coetzee then set the participants off on the last leg of their journey to Cape Town and wished them well.
More about Exercise Trans Enduro
Exercise Trans Enduro's existence can be traced back to approximately 33 years ago, when a group of Military Academy students organised an adventure race from Port Elizabeth to Saldanha.
The Race was conducted through the use of 2 inflatable rubber ducks, and it roughly followed the route of the Trans Agulhas adventure race.
Through the years it changed and students used this opportunity to collect money along the route as part of the competition for the “Smoeg" trophy at Stellenbosch and all the money went to Maties Community Service.
A cycling component was introduced in 1998 that cycles the route along the N2.
The community services team was introduced in 2002 and the focus shifted from collecting money to doing community service along the road. The running team was introduced in 2014
It is also traditional that the mayor of each town writes a letter of goodwill to the mayor of the next town. The Overstrand’s letter of goodwill, signed off by Mayor Dudley Coetzee, was handed to exercise commander, Lieutenant Patrick van Niekerk, who will deliver it upon arrival to the next mayor.