Botswana: Bicycle Challenge Yardstick for Other Communities

Kanye — Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, says the annual Kgosi Malope II Bicycle Challenge is a yardstick for other communities across the country.

After setting the fourth edition of the race in motion with a ride down the Matlhabanelo Hillside on Sunday, Buti Billy said the race was a good benchmark for others.

He challenged dikgosi across the country to draw inspiration from the challenge and to come up with similar initiatives for their communities.

He said the event not only promoted wellness and culture, but also created countless opportunities for young people, especially the business minded.

Buti also encouraged Kanye youth to take advantage of the village's landscape to do cycling as a sport. "Kanye has everything, so beautiful, even walking around is tourism on its own," he said.

Billy, who was accompanied on his ride by Minister of Health and Wellness, Lemogang Kwape, Jwaneng/Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile and Kgosi Malope, was particularly elated that the cycling event was aimed at raising funds for the development of the Mmalekwa Royal Cemetery. The cemetery is where dikgosi, missionaries and mercenaries rest.

He said the cycling event would preserve the rich history of Gangwaketse for future generations.

Billy, who is also MP for Francistown East, explained that government wished to see the private sector thriving and creating employment opportunities for Batswana.

Kgosi Malope was also happy that the race was growing bigger and better every year in terms of attendance and sponsorship.

He challenged Kanye youth to form a cycling club that would represent the village in future competitions.

He also bestowed Kitso Motshidisi with the Milton award in honour of the late former Jwaneng mine general manager, Albert Milton. He noted that Milton supported the initiative through Motshidisi, who provided the technical know-how from the start.

He said the award would remain a constant feature of the race for the foreseeable future. Kgosi Malope said the sponsorship would enable them to kick-start the project, which entailed the boundary wall, information centre, chapel and pathways.

Komatsu Botswana (KB) sponsored the event to the tune of P500 000 while Jwaneng mine GM cycling race offered P100 000.

KB senior corporate affairs manager, Class Mathunya said his company wished to create synergies that could enable them to contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the nation.

He said the race provided such and enabled them to create a lasting impact on the community.

For her part, Jwaneng mine corporate affairs manager, Montlenyane Baaitse said the Mmalekwa Royal Cemetery was a good story that they want to tell and protect.

She said the challenge was also in sync with the mine's cultural heritage programme. Baaitse also said the project was one of the leverages they could use as a vehicle for attracting tourists into the district.

She further explained that since Jwaneng mine's life could end in the next 20-30 years, they wished to empower communities around the mine with sustainable projects that could keep them going beyond the life of the mine.

Source : BOPA

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