Qhubeka is an Nguni Zulu word meaning “to move forwards”, which is what Team MTN-Qhubeka is all about.
As Africa’s most winning and most multi-discipline continental race team, MTN-Qhubeka has garnered nearly 400 race victories since 2008, including myriad national and continental championships. MTN-Qhubeka has begun to feature more regularly on the world stage – a progression that is in alignment with the team vision of producing an African World Champion and licensing as a Pro Continental Team in 2013.
MTN-Qhubeka is the most winning and largest multi-discipline African continental race team. Covering men and women road, men and women mountain bike, and BMX. We are a team of 22 men and women athletes in total from five nations; 14 of the athletes are under 26 years of age.
Sponsored by MTN – a leading African telecommunications provider operating in 21 countries across the region – the team aims to provide opportunities for African riders to excel at the highest levels of the sport while promoting Qhubeka, a South African non-profit organization that provides bicycles to rural children in return for work done to improve their communities. Qhubeka – which is a beneficiary of World Bicycle Relief, supported by SRAM -- has distributed more than 40,000 bicycles to date.
The need is great. In 2011, of the 16 million South African school-going children, 12 million walked to school. Of these, 500,000 had to walk more than two hours each way arriving tired and struggling to concentrate at school. Bicycles are the most effective and economical method of addressing this common African problem.
The program is unique because it is a “work-to-earn” project in which communities are encouraged to buy into and take responsibility for their part in a sustainably designed initiative: “There is no problem finding people who need and want bikes – the desire is there, but the key challenge is to use the bikes to change the communities in which the scheme operates for the better,” says Anthony Fitzhenry, founder and Director of Qhubeka.
To receive a Qhubeka bicycle, each child must plant 100 trees or recycle 1,500kg of waste, and then through the MTN-Qhubeka partnership barter their earnings for their own, newly-built, tough and sturdy, no-frills “Buffalo Bike” with which they can cycle to school and focus on their studies, and have a chance to reach their potential.
Plus, the introduction of cycling into these communities boosts local economies – with whole new industries being created around Qhubeka bicycles: bicycle spares, maintenance and repair shops. It thus encourages cultural and economic activities for increasingly self-sustaining communities.
The MTN-Qhubeka partnership is a unique cause-related sponsorship that aims to not only help realize Africa’s first world-class cycling team, but to also use this momentum to leverage significant corporate support for the establishment of cycling as a viable mobility model.
“The professional cyclists on Team MTN-Qhubeka have inspired the children in the communities and we’re starting to see up and coming talent appear through the school series,” Fitzhenry said.
Learn more about World Bicycle Relief