Uniting the community in the Eastern Cape

The 5th annual Rolling Hills Wheelchair Race took place on the 13th of October 2013. In keeping with the vision of this event, wheelchair users, community members and hospital staff were involved in making this year’s race a success. Rolling Hills was also able to involve participants from various hospitals and institutions from Mthatha and the surrounding areas, thereby uniting persons with disabilities and creating a sense of support and community whilst promoting participation and inclusion for wheelchair users.

By 11:00 the races began. 19 children with cerebral palsy took part with the help of their family members pushing them for the 800m fun run. Jo O’Reilly, occupational therapist at Canzibe Hospital, sourced donations and transport that allowed seven of the children to attend the event. A stretch of 400m of tar road was closed for the safety of the participants. Supporters and volunteers, alike, lined the streets and cheered as participants raced past to collect a juice and elastic at the 400m turn around point and charged for the finish line. The next item was the 2.5km wheelchair race and seven wheelchair users participated. Some of these some contestants were representatives of Ikhwezi Lokusa, a technical skills center, in Mthatha. The participants raced to the 1.25km turn around point before returning to the finish line on the hospital grounds.

Finally, the 5km race participants took to the track, with four participants racing off at the start to cheering crowds and camera flashes. Unfortunately, a malfunctioning wheelchair resulted in one contestant not being able to finish the race. The crowds went wild as they welcomed the winner, Mute Mndeni (Zithulele) over the finish line.

Each winning participant was given a medal, trophy, certificate of completion and a gift voucher ranging in value from R100 to R300 from The Circle Elliotdale SuperSpar. All other participants were awarded with a medal, certificate of completion and a R50 voucher from The Circle Elliotdale SuperSpar. Celebrations continued with a drama skit performed by students from Walter Sisulu University (Mthatha campus) and a traditional dance performance by ladies from the surrounding Madwaleni community.

Months of preparation from the members of the Madwaleni Rehabilitation Team, as well as donations from Madwaleni staff, the NGO, Donald Woods Foundation and sponsors, QuadPara SA and Sisonke, made this year’s event possible.

The success of Rolling Hills Wheelchair Race 2013 is also largely due to the invaluable involvement and sponsorship of Elliotdale

Circle Spar.