Ed’s note: This post is a submission by Mike Smith.
If there is one thing South Africa has is sport – lots of it and the perfect environment in which to participate. The Sani2c is an example, a South African multi-day stage race that tours from the foot hills of the Drakensberg to the breaking sea at Scottbrugh – crossing South African lands of beauty and splendour.
What makes South Africa so special in sports events like this one, is not the fast paced competitiveness or the absolutely phenomenal organisation (although these things are resoundingly present), it’s the camaraderie, the people and the countryside. Only South Africa could host an event that traverses such diversified environments. From mountainous grasslands, through rough thorn-veld and on to the tropical vegetation of the South Coast. We have it all!
While passing through some of the most memorable of sites, the people are the key feature of the Sani2c. The one thousand competitors and over three hundred support crew not only make the race but resonate South African spirit. Laced with cultural diversity of language and situation, everyone is never the less a potential friend. When racing, the most you are likely to say to your partner or competitor is “how the legs”, “slow down” or many other four letter combinations that need not be recorded – nevertheless, these are the people who you can walk away from the event feeling like you know better than any friend!
The most astounding aspect of all, is that the race travels through some of South Africa’s poorest communities without trouble or a hint of danger. Considering the fact that millions of Rands worth of equipment makes its way through a population of little wealth one would expect a dismal response. Instead, the people of the area line the single tracks – screaming and shouting in support of the cyclists. Glen and Mandy Haw, the race organizers, are responsible for this to a large degree as they funnel money back into the communities.
South Africa is abundant with opportunities and the blessing of unsurpassed beauty. The Sani2c takes full advantage of this, allowing competitors to experience our countryside and reap rewards it has offer. Sport isn’t just something we have in abundance; it’s something we can use to develop this wonderful country.
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