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Young South Africans head for UK to start unique global adventure

26 JUL 2013

Young South Africans head for UK to start unique global adventure

Young South Africans head for UK to start unique global adventure

The Sapinda Rainbow project and Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) have wished ten young South Africans (eight primary crew and two reserves) ‘bon voyage’ today as they head off to the UK to participate in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race: at 40,000 miles it’s the longest ocean challenge on the planet! The unique initiative aims to develop young community leaders of the future who will also raise international awareness and funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

The group were centre stage at the 2013 Annual Children’s Celebration to mark its founder Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday. The event remains the children’s way of honouring Madiba as the children’s champion and is highly regarded by former president Mandela who made it a tradition to attend as a special guest.

His daughter Ms Zindzi Mandela attended and congratulated the team. She said: “They are a great example of our young people. I can see Madiba’s legacy in what they are doing: it is a very brave thing they are embarking on, an act of courage, and the fact they are bringing that experience back into their communities; it’s that combination Madiba has of courage, determination, humility and service. All of that is visible in these young people.”

The Sapinda Rainbow project is working with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) which promoted the opportunity throughout its network and encouraged nominations from the communities it serves of young people aged 18-23. The final selected crew will form a ‘tag’ team, each completing one of the eight legs of the Clipper Race. The successful candidates will act as ambassadors for the Sapinda Rainbow project to raise awareness around the world of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, regarded as his last great legacy for South Africa’s children.

Zindzi Mandela added: “Taking on this incredible challenge of the Clipper Race, combined with the young people’s aim to raise awareness and funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital as they travel around the world, alongside his other values, is the best gift the Sapinda Rainbow crew can give Madiba, it’s an exciting 95th Birthday present, it’s wonderful.”

The project is funded by the Sapinda Group to give young people a unique personal development opportunity through participation in a life-changing global adventure and at the same time encourage them to become a catalyst and role model within their own respective communities.

Dirk van Daele, Sapinda Executive Committee member, participated in the 2009-10 edition of the Clipper Race and experienced first-hand how the event was used to develop young people from other countries. He said: “The Clipper Race is a unique event which changes lives. We aim to make a difference. So this isn’t just about what they can do individually, but what they can contribute through leadership and gaining confidence which will ultimately be a catalyst back within their own communities.”

The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (NMCF) strives to change the way society treats its children and youth. This long-term vision captures the central role society plays in shaping children's lives. The fund introduced the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust as a legacy project to provide world-class healthcare for all children of Southern Africa. The hospital will be a dedicated specialist hospital working on a referral basis – and no child will be turned away due to inability to pay. Currently in its planning and fundraising stage, the Hospital Trust aims to break ground later this year.

The NMCF’s CEO Sibongile Mkhabela said: “Even though our Founder Nelson Mandela physically last honoured the event on his 93rd birthday in 2011, the tradition continues. The children’s celebration ranks as one of the Fund’s platforms to give children a voice. It was fantastic to have the Sapinda Rainbow crew participate in the ceremony to share their story and enabled us to wish them well on their journey.
br />“We have an excellent group of young people and they are excited and proud to be here today,” explained David Cusworth, the Clipper Race crew manager who was part of the selection panel. “These young people are going to participate in a life changing experience which will give them new skills to bring back to their communities. The Clipper Race is famous for that.”

The team will leave for the UK tonight (Friday 26 July) to undertake an intense period of training based out of the Clipper Race base on the Solent prior to the race start in London on 1 September 2013. The South African host port for the Clipper Race is Cape Town; the fleet of twelve 70 foot ocean racing yachts will arrive in late October this year.