By: Thabelo Mulaisi

Pic:The route

In an effort to raise funds to buy 30 wheelchairs for people with mobility impairments, a Johannesburg copywriter embarked on a 30 day epic walk from Johannesburg to Cape Town. A relentless TJ Njozela did not allow the scorching sun and muscle pulls to deter him from the 1264 km walk on his 30Days 30Wheelchairs mission.

Although they weren't able to get enough donations for 30 wheelchairs Njozela’s friend and project manager, Kgotso Motlhaping says they we managed to raise over R65 000, which is a significant amount.

“The campaign 30Days 30Wheelchairs was inspired by a sports injury TJ sustained early this year that left him dependent on crutches for over 8 weeks. During the time, he empathised with people that live with mobility impairments”, said Motlhaping.

“People are always shocked when we tell them about what we're doing. They are also very impressed. They love the cause and wish us all the best on the road ahead.” he said.

“The walk was very tough and challenging for TJ as he had some difficulties because of blisters and muscle pulls. But he always remained upbeat and motivated. Meeting people who are generous towards us because of the cause and all the support we got made it easier on the road,” he said.

Asked what had been their memorable experience on the road, Motlhaping says, “there were many amazing things that happened to us, because we met such incredible people. One of the best nights was in Christiana, where Heidi, who runs Die Wingerd Guesthouse, not only sponsored our accommodation for a night, but offered us dinner as well. Her generosity almost drove us to tears. And a gentleman by the name of David Haydon sent us some money to help with the walk which came in at a time we really needed it”.

The walk was not without its challenges; from extreme weather to physical strain. “We learnt a lot from our journey which we will use to make our future projects more successful”, says Motlhapi.

We are in the process of registering an NPO which we will use for future projects. We're also going to plan another walk for next year, taking into account everything we've learnt from this year. Some of the changes we'll make will be doing it over a longer period so that we have time to engage with the communities we go through along the route and having a few more people walking as well.



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