Last year, when Velokhaya BMX rider Anita Zenani (13) was placed sixth in the world in her first ever competitive BMX event outside Khayelitsha, she had only one wish – to be given the chance to improve her world ranking at this year’s UCI BMX World Championships in Denmark.
Her wish has come true thanks to the generosity of two international companies and the support of her community and friends who have joined forces to raise the funds needed to send Anita to Denmark where she will compete against the world’s top Under 13 girl BMX riders on Wednesday, July 27, 2011.
Shipping company Safmarine – whose parent company is based in Denmark – sponsored flights, while Sun International’s Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town provided R8000 towards travelling expenses.
Money was also raised by the Velokhaya community which held, amongst others, a car wash and braai fundraiser in April.
Further support for the Velokhaya cycling programme was also provided when approximately 100 Safmariners and family members volunteered their time as part of their ’67 minutes’ in support of Nelson Mandela’s birthday.
According to Lea-Anne Moses Magerman, PR and CSI Manager for Safmarine South Africa: “When Safmarine launched its ‘Containers in the Community’ CSI project in 1992, our aim was to ‘make a difference’ by using shipping containers as much-needed infrastructure in previously disadvantaged communities. Instead Anita’s achievements – and those of the other cyclists at the Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy – have proven that shipping containers can be converted into more than useful buildings; they also provide the infrastructure for nurturing dreams and growing champions.”
According to Sun International’s HR Manager, Christelle Horne: “We decided to support Anita’s trip to Denmark because we believe in making dreams come true and in giving people opportunities to achieve their dreams. Anita’s passion, talent and commitment resonate with our values; she impressed us so much we wanted to help in a small way. We wish her success and know that she will make South Africa proud in Denmark.”
Anita Zenani will be accompanied to Denmark by Velokhaya’s Operations Manager, Sipho Mona.
ABOUT COMPETING IN THE WORLD CHAMPS IN DENMARK – 2011
How do you feel about being able to go to the World BMX Championships in Denmark: Excited because its my first overseas trip. I am also pleased to be visiting Denmark because a few years ago Velokhaya cyclist Luthando Kaka spent two years there. We hope to meet up with a few of his friends while in Denmark. The Danish cycling community has also supported Velokhaya in the past, donating funds to our project, so I am looking forward to meeting the Danish community who I am told love cycling, like I do!
What do you feel about travelling overseas for the first time?: It will be a good learning curve. I am pleased that Sipho Mona will be coming with me. His job will be to motivate me and make sure I stay focused. My mother and grandmother are also pleased he will be joining me – they didn’t realise how far I had to travel until we told them!
What training have you done for the Worlds? I have mainly focused on how to get out of tight corners without crashing. Darren Stowe and fellow Velokhaya riders Xolisa, Bayanda and Wanga (who participated in the Worlds last year) have been working with me on that.
How do the other children at Velokhaya feel about your opportunity to travel to Copenhagen?: They are very excited for me. They want me to come back with a winning medal and feel I have a good chance of improving my ranking because, unlike last year, I will be riding with cleats this year.
Tell us about your bicycle?: I will be riding a new bike for the Worlds; this has definitely given me more confidence.
Who do you want to beat? I would like to beat the Australian and New Zealand riders.