“Fighting poverty” is South African triathlete, Mhlengi Gwala’s, motivation to cycle the Ride for MRP Foundation
South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala is determined to ride his third Ride for MRP Foundation, an annual two-day stage ride from Johannesburg to Durban. The 606km event, aims to raise funds to break the cycle of poverty and inequality in South Africa, through the MRP Foundation’s education and skills development programmes, currently impacting 64,000 learners across South Africa.
The 2018 edition of the Ride was Mhlengi’s first major event since a brutal attack on the athlete in March last year, where he nearly lost his legs. Mhlengi made international headlines last year when he was attacked in the early hours of the morning, whilst training. Despite his doctors advising that he may not participate in sports for at least two years, a determined Mhlengi made it his goal to get back on his bicycle for a good cause.
His miraculous recovery saw him return to the peloton for the second time a few months after the attack, much to the delight of his family, friends and all those who aided him throughout his astonishing recovery. “The people of South Africa and the ones across the world are the ones that kept me going. Their support and well wishes — and my children — are what kept me going,” said Mhlengi.
It’s been quite a journey for the 27-year old athlete from Chesterville who found purpose in exercise and sport. Gwala battled drugs as a teenager before realising his athletic potential, becoming a lifeguard soon after mastering swimming, and then went on to successfully compete in the international arena as a South African triathlete.
Last year Mhlengi trained hard for the Ride for MRP Foundation. “What’s great about the Ride for MRP Foundation is that it’s not a race but a group ride. Although last year was tough, I came with the mentality that we are riding with a cause — to fight poverty — this was my motivation on the road,” he said.
Thanks to sponsorship from City Logistics, Mhlengi will once again be riding with purpose on December 1 and 2. The City Logistics Team are really proud to be associated with Mhlengi Gwala, and look forward to celebrating with him at the finish.
Mhlengi still needs the public’s support in raising additional funds for MRP Foundation. Last year he rode among a 72-strong peloton comprising of South African Rugby Legends, CEO’s, business people, professional athletes as well as scholars, whose combined effort raised R2 million.
Funds raised will be used to empower thousands of young South Africans through skills development and education programmes. Between 2007 and 2018 MRP Foundation’s Skills Development Programme, which prepares youth for the working world, trained 32,310 youth.
The school’s programme is currently active in 98 low-income schools in 4 provinces impacting 64,000 learners: Tongaat (20), Hammarsdale (20), QwaQwa (20), Soweto (20) and Mitchell’s Plain (18).
The 2019 Ride for MRP Foundation edition partners are: Absa, CMH Nissan Durban, SPAR, Maxed, Expand-a-Sign, City Logistics, Zapper, Trader Plus, Corruseal, KTM, Westville Cycle Club, Giant, Cyclesphere, SA Rugby Legends and Hirt and Carter.