The Cape Town Cycle Tour returns this Sunday and some high-profile South Africans, including Mark Fish, are using the event to fundraise for charity through GivenGain, along with scores of other extraordinary people taking on the 109km course.

Fish, a former professional footballer and hero of the victorious Bafana Bafana at the 1996 African Cup of Nations, will do the world’s biggest timed cycle race eyeing a new goal – raising R10,000 in donations to support the Cape Town Child Welfare Society, who have been helping the city’s at-risk children for more than 100 years.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has hurt us all, but it has devastated the most vulnerable among us,” says Fish. “Cape Town Child Welfare Society’s selfless and courageous social workers and staff deliver their most essential services day in and day out. Please support us to help CTCWS to do more.”

Cycling to assist students facing financial hardship

Joining him in the peloton is Wim de Villiers, rector and vice-chancellor of Stellenbosch University. De Villiers is one of South Africa’s biggest advocates for assisting students facing financial hardship, and as a keen cyclist, he can often be found fundraising in their benefit in races around the world.

A veteran of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, he rode in the 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 events in support of #Move4Food, a campaign to fund on-campus food banks and fight student hunger, raising 176,700 in the most recent event.

He also took on the 2019 London to Brighton Cycle Ride to fund scholarships at Stellenbosch University for disadvantaged students. For this latest Cape Town Cycle Tour, De Villiers is getting back in the saddle to raise money for Bridge the Gap, Stellenbosch University’s fundraising campaign that delivers financial aid to students in need.

“Our students face numerous challenges, but a lack of financial assistance shouldn’t be one of them. We want to take these barriers from our students. It doesn’t take the mountain away, but it does make climbing it easier,” De Villiers says.

The Cape Town Cycle Tour is a huge fundraising opportunity for South African charities. Since the event partnered with GivenGain in 2018, participants have raised more than R3m for good causes. Many non-profits are in dire need of a cash injection after the Covid-19 pandemic halted mass participation events for over a year.

This year, 180 fundraising cyclists have collected over half a million Rand between them in aid of 37 Cape Town and South African charities, including the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, the Hout Bay United Football Community Trust and CANSA. Donors from 25 different countries have pitched in to help these vital non-profits to make an even bigger impact after lockdown.

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