Ray Bande Senior Reporter
ARTISTS always proclaim that art is not just for art’s sake.
Perhaps, in the same measure, sport is not just for the sake of sport.
It is for a reason.
Last week on Friday, Manenji Madzima cycled 265km from Harare to Mutare with the intention of raising funds and goods for the poor.
As Madzima cycled, his colleagues were on their motorbikes and vehicles.
A total of 12 super bikes and five cars embarked on the Harare-Mutare mission.
The vehicles would provide the necessary spares, food and back-up support for the bikers.
For a good eight and half hours at an average speed of 31,17km per hour, Madzima negotiated the curves and slopes of the Harare-Mutare highway.
Apart from cash, foodstuffs ranging from rice, salt and maize-meal; learning materials that include pens, pencils, books and satchels; among many other goods, were raised.
These things will be channeled to the less privileged through Madzima and his club’s Cycle for Charity initiative.
Some money and goods have already been disbursed.
A member of Harare’s De Biker Boys Motorcycle Club, Madzima says he is motivated by his desire to help the needy.
“I started cycling at a tender age but had no access to more advanced bicycles because my parents were not employed. We survived through subsistence farming and would sell the surplus. This motivated me to work for charity.
“I went to Harare in 2008, but had no access to bicycles. The passion for cycling saw me buying a second hand mountain bike in 2010.
“I would cycle from Kuwadzana, Harare, to Christon Bank in Mazowe,” he said.
However, it was not a bed of roses for Madzima as he pursued his passion.
“In 2012, I was involved in an accident which left me with a broken knee. I lost five of my teeth on the spot and that disturbed me a lot, but I didn’t quit cycling.
“After recovering in 2015, I started training again and had access to better bicycles. I started meeting other cyclists and I would follow them from behind. Some of them were more professional, but I drew some inspiration from them.”
But how did the idea of embarking on the Harare-Mutare cycling mission cross his mind?
“I thought I would do something better than just cycling for fun and fitness. I decided to ride for a cause. So this Harare-Mutare trip was my first run. I told people that I would cycle for charity and asked them to pay me for that.
“I am a full member of the De Biker Boys Motorcycle Club. The club does charity runs and this time I challenged them that while they rode to Mutare on their motorbikes, I would do so on my bicycle,” he said.
Madzima added: “One day when I’m fully funded, I will buy a motorbike and some bicycles to do more fundraising campaigns for vulnerable families across the globe. I will form my own club in my rural area — Madzima Village under Chief Gutu.”
In a separate interview with Post Sport, the general of the recently launched De Biker Boyz Mutare Chapter, Janis Joseph, better known in the cycling and biking industry as Boss Lady said: “I applaud Manenji for proving that if you set your mind on something, nothing will stop you from achieving it.
“Manenji is passionate about helping the less fortunate and I hope God will bless him. I thank him for the priceless gesture. I appeal to all well-wishers from across the globe to sponsor this man, he has a heart for the needy.
“In the same vein, the De Biker Boyz Mutare Chapter will be doing charity work. Well-wishers with donations in cash or kind can contact me,” said Joseph.
However, cycling for charity is not a novel concept in Zimbabwe and the world-over.
An Indian man, Somen Debnath, has been cycling around the world for the past 16 years on a tour to raise awareness on the HIV and Aids epidemic.
Currently in Japan, Debnath intends to cover 191 countries over a distance of 200 000km.
Early this year, World Bicycle Relief offered riders the chance to join a 490 kilometre ride from Zambia to Zimbabwe to raise money to fund its life changing work.
The organisation provides bicycles to people in need, thereby allowing them to access education, healthcare and economic empowerment. The eight-day trip started in Lusaka and ended in Victoria Falls.
And on September 22, 2010, a team of six cyclists, a back-up crew and three vehicles started an epic two-day journey from Harare to Victoria Falls.
The trip, which was a true test of physical and mental stamina, raised funds for a charity organisation called Supporting Old Age Pensioners (Soap).