Khayelitsha cyclist’s dreams coming true
At age 26, Bonga Nqobane has been appointed by Cycling South Africa to connect clubs across the country
In his navy overalls at the garage where he runs his cycling club, newly appointed Cycling South Africa’s Chair for Youth, Transformation and Development Bonga Nqobane is fixing bicycles. The children he trains will arrive at 4pm after they have finished school.
Nqobane, who is 26, began a cycling club with his friend in a garage at home in October 2015. He first started cycling when he was 15. He says it was never his aim to become the world’s best cyclist but to bring the sport to people living in areas like Khayelitsha. In 2014, he initiated an inter-school cycling competition in Khayelitsha that involved six schools and 90 learners.
He doesn’t have enough bicycles, so he holds Math and English extra classes to keep those children without bicycles busy and to help them with school work. Nqobane also created a vegetable garden for the children. He has study guides, and on the walls hang math times tables.
He has more than 40 children in his club, with only 21 bicycles which were donated by Cycling South Africa and Pedal Power Association.
Nqobane says his new job entails travelling across the country connecting all the cycling clubs. “There are few black people in cycling. The sport itself is far from people; it is in the white suburb areas, not in the townships or CBDs where people can go and watch these events,” he says. “We want to increase the number of children from black townships taking part in the sport.”
His dream is to set up a cycling centre in Makhaza, Khayelitsha. “Not just a cycling centre, but an inclusive space that is able to cater to the entire community, youth and adults.”
Nqobane says he still has a long way to go before he achieves his goals but is happy with the way things are going.
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