Young South Africans take to the water for fleet delivery

19 August 2015

The Clipper Race fleet and its international crew is currently on its way to London for the highly anticipated tenth edition Race Start on 30 August, and on board IchorCoal are two young South Africans who hope their experience will inspire others.

The two youths are amongst ten South Africans aged between 18 and 23, selected to take part in the race as ambassadors for the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation. The ambassadors come from a wide range of backgrounds across the country and some of them had never even seen the sea before arriving in the UK for their Clipper Race training. The opportunity, which is funded by the foundation, aims to equip the ambassadors with new skills that they can use in their communities, and beyond their Clipper Race experience they will be supported by mentors to help them pursue their career goals.

Sakhile ‘The King’ Khulekani Makhanya, 19, from Mtubatuba, Kwazulu-Natal, is selected as a reserve for the race and says: “I’m feeling great. I really appreciate being back in the UK and on board the delivery to London. I hope that I get another opportunity to sail with the race. It has been great to meet and be part of the crew on IchorCoal, and I’ve really enjoyed putting all my race training into practice. I’m looking forward to living on board with people from all walks of life.

“Young people in my community are faced with challenges such as lack of monetary resources and there are no role models. Many of those who completed school are sitting at home scared to dream beyond what they have. I want to further my studies back home and I really appreciate this opportunity to come to the UK and take part in the race,” Sakhile added.

“My family wish the best for me. They tell me sailing is not about you, it’s about listening and learning, so as long as I do that everything is going to be alright. The first generation of Sapinda Rainbow Foundation ambassadors have told me to be strong and help inspire other young people.”

The foundation’s chairman Dirk Van Daele participated in the 2009-10 edition of the Clipper Race and saw a similar project make a profound difference for young people from deprived inner city areas in Europe. He launched the first initiative in 2013 and created the foundation last year to provide long term support and development opportunities for the selected candidates in South Africa.

In this edition of the race, the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation ambassadors will help raise awareness and funding for innovative research into the long term effects of HIV treatment by the Ndlovu Care Group in Limpopo, South Africa, where one in five of the population is infected with the virus.

Zanele Mweni, 18, is also from Mtubatuba and taking part in the first race of the series from London to Rio de Janiero, Brazil. En route to London she says: “I am very excited and my family are very proud that I am here. It’s great to be here with the team and I am looking forward to my race from London. All of the Sapinda Rainbow ambassadors for this race will be there to wave me off and wish me luck. I will be emotional, nervous and excited at the same time.”

Find out more about the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation and the Ndlovu Care Group here.

The Clipper Race fleet is due to arrive in London’s St Katharine Docks from approximately 16:45 BST on Thursday 20 August. The Race Village is open to the public from 10:00am on Saturday 22 August right through until the long awaited fleet departure on Sunday 30 August.

Click here for the Race Village Schedule and Race Start departure timings.

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