More than just cycling: MTN Qhubeka
Qhubeka is an Nguni word that means “to carry on”, “to progress”, “to move forward”. Qhubeka is World Bicycle Relief’s program in South Africa. World Bicycle Relief is a global non-profit organization dedicated to advancing education, health and economic opportunities by providing simple, sustainable transportation. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung was founded in 2007, steadily working its way up from a regional team to now being a Continental Pro team with bases in South Africa and Italy.
Key program outcomes include:
- Increased attendance of vulnerable children
- Improved performance
- Improved retention
- Better livelihoods of bicycle beneficiaries and their families
- Improved safety and security of students traveling from and to school
The foundation's goal for 2015 is to put 5000 children or adults on their “buffalo bikes” as part of a campaign called Bicycles Change Lives. The African people who receive the bikes have to earn their bike and work for it so they have to carry out community work, grow trees, clean up rubbish or do well at school before the Qhubeka bikes are distributed.
MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s goal is to give talented African riders a path into the pro peloton while raising funds for Qhubeka. The inspirational campaign has been a draw card, bringing talented riders, like Tyler Farrar and Edvald Boasson Hagen to race under the black and yellow stripes.
It is more than just cycling for the MTN Qhubeka team, they want to make statement, be noticed and make a difference. MTN Qhubeka's cyclists no doubt have something bigger than winning the stage in the back of their minds when they're riding, they know they are racing for a cause, a real cause, they know they can change something, change lives, they can give future prospects of African cycling a head start.
“Our team isn’t only about winning races, it has another over-arching dimension which is just as important, maybe even more important,” Douglas Ryder explains. “It’s an ambition to want to put more kids on bikes in Africa because we know what the talent is like there, and if we can bring through that talent it would be amazing.”
“We only take riders who really ‘get’ the project and what we are trying to do, none of the riders are paying lip-service to the principles behind the team and every one of them who has been to a bike hand-over day in Africa comes back to Europe with a different appreciation of what’s involved, and what a big difference they are making to people. Ten per cent of any prize money a rider wins goes to Qhubeka, the riders know that and support the idea.”
“The ultimate goal would be to have a black African rider on the podium of a Grand Tour. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine how inspirational that would be to young Africans, if we had a sort of cycling Michael Jordan, someone for kids in a whole continent to be able to look at and think, ‘yes, I want to do that, I can do that!’ It would be incredible, unbelievable.”
"it’s not about me or the riders, it’s about something way bigger that will endure after we’ve gone.”
Donate here at http://bicycleschangelives.org/ to support the foundation and their quest to empower the less fortunate and create future African champions.