Helping Families in Africa -
One Bicycle at a Time

This Father’s Day, we salute Reason who fundraises for World Bicycle Relief Australia, a charity that delivers sturdy, all-terrain Buffalo Bicycles to children who live long distances from their school and communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

We also acknowledge Melbourne dads, Chris Peters and Rob Ward who are the co- founders of Quadlock. In their quest to make a difference, these entrepreneurs wanted to contribute to a charity that empowers other entrepreneurs and ultimately the community at large and that’s when they joined World Bicycle Relief Australia.

What would the community be without women? Joining the dads is the former Chairperson of the Community Leadership Network in Victoria, Chantal Kabamba. Chantal is a strong advocate for education and equality for all.

In 2017 alone, World Bicycle Relief distributed over 54,000 new Buffalo Bicycles, and surprisingly - each bicycle only costs $AUD195 to get into the hands of a school student like Reason. Ahead of Father’s Day 2018, World Bicycle Relief is putting the call out to all Australians to spare a thought for the families of sub-Saharan Africa, and make a donation - however big or small - to change lives.

For more information or to donate to World Bicycle Relief, visit https://worldbicyclerelief.org/en/

Sometimes life is tough and fathers can’t provide for their family. By helping World Bicycle Relief Australia raise funds, I’m helping those families keep their kids at school which means a brighter future for the whole family. It makes me very happy to know I’m making a difference.
— Reason Wafawarova

Floods, criminals, carnivorous animals, extreme weather; these were some of the dangers Penrith Dad (and World Bicycle Relief fundraising ambassador) Reason Wafawarova, encountered on his daily 16km school journey when he was a child in Zimbabwe.

Reason grew up in the small village of Dungu, Zimbabwe, and received access to a family bicycle while he was 12. Prior to owning a bicycle and attending high school, Reason would wake at 4:30 a.m. to run barefoot an 18km journey to Murwira Primary School in the Bikita District which would start at 8:00am.

The provision of Buffalo Bicycles to students has a measurable impact. A school student can cover four times the distance, and for every 16 kms, three hours of time is saved on a Buffalo Bicycle. Students who have access to a bike have increased school attendance by 28%, and their academic performance has improved by 59%.

Reason Wafawarova, CEO Lambret Investments

Reason Wafawarova, CEO Lambret Investments

In Australia there’s a lot that we can take for granted; access to education and everything.
One of the things that first draw us to World Bicycle Relief was the fact that they really empower people to help themselves. They empower the whole communities.
— Rob Ward
As a dad you wanna do what you can to help your kids succeed in life and through World Bicycle Relief enabling transportation through Buffalo bikes enables people to access schools and education … it could be life changing to people
— Chris Peters

Rob Ward & Chris Peters, Co-Founders of QuadLock

Rob Ward & Chris Peters, Co-Founders of QuadLock

I love helping and empowering most vulnerable people in our community. I see a lot of potential in these people. The story of the bikes is very revolutionary, just that can change so many people’s lives – it’s powerful.
— Chantal Kabamba
Chantal Kabamba, Former Chairperson of the Community Leadership Network

Chantal Kabamba, Former Chairperson of the Community Leadership Network

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Reason grew up in the small village of Dungu, Zimbabwe, and received access to a family bicycle while he was 12. Prior to owning a bicycle and attending high school, Reason would wake at 4:30 a.m. to run barefoot an 18km journey to Murwira Primary School in the Bikita District which would start at 8:00am.

Being the first established school in the village, Murwira Primary School had no tolerance for late attendance resulting in severe punishments for students. “Being late was not an option, we would be bashed by our teachers, required to run laps around the school or sent home. After such a strenuous journey there, we would be extremely tired, so more running was a nightmare,” he said.

Reason relocated to Penrith, Sydney in early 2004 with his family and now is a successful entrepreneur and CEO of Lamre Investments Pty Ltd which assists with fundraising for World Bicycle Relief.

About World Bicycle Relief

Founded in 2005, World Bicycle Relief mobilises people through The Power of Bicycles®. World Bicycle Relief accomplishes its mission by distributing specially designed, high-quality bicycles through philanthropic and social enterprise programs. These purpose-designed bicycles are built to withstand the challenging terrain and conditions in rural, developing areas. Entrepreneurs use the bicycles to increase productivity and profits. Students attend class more regularly and their academic performances improve. And, healthcare workers visit more patients in less time, providing better, more consistent care. World Bicycle Relief also promotes local economies and long-term sustainability by assembling bicycles locally and training field mechanics to service the bicycles. To date, World Bicycle Relief has delivered over 400,000 bicycles and trained over 1,900 field mechanics in Africa, Southeast Asia and South America. World Bicycle Relief is a registered nonprofit in USA, Canada, U.K., Germany and Australia, and has assembly facilities in Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.

South African Women's Day 2018

Woman of Fortitude

Interview with Ms Beryl Rose Sisulu
By Dorcas Utkovic

Ms Beryl Sisulu is the South African High Commissioner in Australia. She enjoys reading and learning about different cultures and the environment. Her current playlist includes David Foster and friends, gospel and African music. 

Her ultimate dinner table has her parents (Walter & Albertina Sisulu), Oprah Winfrey, Whitney Houston and David Foster.

South African High Commissioner, Australia. HE Ms Beryl Rose Sisulu.

South African High Commissioner, Australia. HE Ms Beryl Rose Sisulu.

The 9th of August marks the national Women’s day in South Africa. Your late mother mama Albertina Sisulu was one of the key women who were instrumental to this day. 

What is it like to be the daughter of such a woman? Do you feel pressured to walk in the steps? 

Yes, the 9th of August is very significant in South African history.  In fact, more recently, August has become Women’s month and is celebrated with various activities all over the country. This year marks the centenary of my mother, Albertina Sisulu, and this year’s Women’s month has been dedicated to her, with the theme Woman of Fortitude.

Being the daughter of this phenomenal woman does come with pressure at times, however in raising us, my mother taught us to be humble.  Because she was a woman of fortitude, and was able to endure many hardships, we admired her immensely.  Our situation is somewhat different, albeit still with many challenges, for example domestic violence.  Nonetheless we try to walk in her footsteps.

On the day of the march (9th August 1956) you would have been about 8 years old. What do you recall about this day and/or leading up to or post activities at home or otherwise?

I was about 7 years old at the time of the 1956 march.  I do not recall much before the actual march as my home was always a hive of activity. Hence it was normal for us to see people coming and going. I do recall hearing snippets of talk after the march as it was a significant event – even for a 7 year-old.

When she became active within the political landscape, Mama Albertina was kept in solitary confinement as well as in and out of prison. As a girl child, how has this experience shaped you growing up and even now?

My mother was not only in and out of prison.   She was also banned and under house arrest for about 17 years.   At some point my father, mother, eldest brother, and nephew (eldest brother’s son), were all in prison at the same time.   Neighbours and friends would drop in to bring us food. 

The banning orders lasted for 5-year periods.  We knew that a week or two before the banning order expired, that the authorities would slap my mother with another banning order.

House arrest meant that she could not leave home before 6:00am and had to be indoors by 6.00pm.  On weekends, she was required to be home by 6pm and could not leave before 6am on a Monday.  This made my mother very resilient.  She was a brave and courageous woman. During all this suffering, she held her head up high. She was well respected by the community and always very dignified.

It was during these hard times when one learnt that you had to be not only courageous but also respectful. We knew that we had to work hard.

This upbringing is what I believe shaped me.   It instilled in me the belief that hard work will always be recognised and will always put you on a good footing.  Humility and respect was the order of the day for us.  As a result it has become part and parcel of me.

The struggle against domestic violence should definitely be looked at collectively ... In honour of  Woman’s Day in South Africa,  South African women are marching against domestic violence and are delivering a 24 item petition to the President (24 items stand for the 24 years of democracy.) 

What is your message to the women of the world, particularly those who actively challenge what they can no longer accept in the society or within their personal lives?

My message to those women is to be steadfast.  Let us unite and fight this scourge of domestic violence together. Let the voices of the women of the 1956 march live on through us.

Mama Albertina Sisulu, Ms Beryl Sisulu's mother.

Mama Albertina Sisulu, Ms Beryl Sisulu's mother.

The biggest lesson from my mother was: education, education, education. She taught me that knowledge is power. She taught me that you have to be out there to make things happen – no-one was there waiting for you to put a silver spoon in your mouth. Most importantly, it was to be a woman of integrity.

I must be transparent in saying this is a generalised observation that people who are involved in activism or politically inclined work tend to possess a qualification in Law - as you do. May I then ask, how did you decide on this career and what was it like to navigate a system whose ‘law’ openly oppressed others’ basic human rights?

I don’t necessarily agree with you when you say “people who are involved in activism or politically inclined” tend to possess a qualification in Law.  I am trained as a lawyer but my mother was not - she was a nurse. My one sister, the current Minister of International Relations, is not a lawyer - and my younger sister was a teacher. Winnie Mandela was a social worker. I believe activists and politicians come from all walks of life. However I do believe coming from a background in law can be advantageous.

As for me - I always loved the law.  In fact, I had hoped to become a Judge. I went to University when I was already married with 3 children. I did this at the insistence of my father, who was always writing to me from Robben Island prison, urging me to go back to school.

I finally plucked up the courage to tackle Afrikaans.  This, and the added financial burden,  was what had been preventing me from going to university  I did not have a second language from my high school, as my mother had sent us away to high school outside of South Africa. In my first year at university, I registered for a non-degree purpose and studied Afrikaans for the whole year.  For fear of being bored, I added English and history. At the end of the year, I passed - even in Afrikaans. I was then able to register for my law degree the following year and received credit for the 3 courses I had been doing the previous year. Studying at a previously whites-only university was not easy at the time. One often experienced racism and discrimination.   However there were some very good lecturers. 

It was also during this time that pressure was mounting from within the country and around the world for apartheid to be dismantled.  My father was released from prison on 15 October 1989, having served 26 years in prison. This was 4 months before Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

Both my parents attended my graduation in March 1990.  This was one of the most memorable days of my life.

Famous image of Walter and Albertina Sisulu's wedding with Nelson Mandela on the far left.  Image subject to copyright

Famous image of Walter and Albertina Sisulu's wedding with Nelson Mandela on the far left.

Image subject to copyright


This year Mama Albertina would be turning 100. How are you celebrating her centenary?

This year marks the centenary of both Nelson Mandela and my mother. The South African government has been celebrating them under different themes. The Mandela theme is “Be the legacy”.  The theme for my mother is “A woman of fortitude”

This year’s Women’s Month is dedicated to Albertina Sisulu - “ A woman of fortitude”.   

There are several activities honouring my mother taking place in South Africa. A rare orchid found in the Walter Sisulu Botannical gardens in Johannesburg has been named after her.

One of South Africa’s most famous rose growers has produced an Albertina Sisulu memorial rose.

There are several other events taking place throughout South Africa and the family has been receiving several awards in her honour.

In Canberra at my residence, South Africa house, I will host a Woman’s Day luncheon that will be attended by about 30 women. The honoured guest, who will deliver the keynote address on Albertina Sisulu, is Dr Meredith Burgmann, a well-known Australian politician and activist in her own right - and a long-time supporter of South Africa.

Today we see the struggles that women face in South Africa, Australia and ultimately globally. And most of these stem from violence against women where some have unfortunately lost their lives or severely hurt (physically and otherwise). How relevant do you think the slogan of 1956 ‘wa thinta abafazi, wa nthita imbokodo’ is or how has it evolved to accommodate the challenges of our current society?

The struggle against domestic violence should definitely be looked at collectively.  You are correct when you say the scourge of domestic violence is global.   In honour of  Woman’s Day in South Africa,  South African women are marching against domestic violence and are delivering a 24 item petition to the President (24 items stand for the 24 years of democracy.) 

Women are asking for visible intervention against violence against women and children.  I believe that when women unite, as they did in 1956, then the words “you have struck a woman - you have struck a rock”,  can become meaningful. I also think women should speak out against violence in whatever form. “One death from domestic violence is one death too many.” No woman deserves to die at the hands of a husband, partner or lover.

It is also wonderful to meet people from all over the world. I am very proud to have been given this wonderful opportunity to represent my country in Australia, with non-resident accreditation to the islands of Papua New Guinea, Nauru and the Solomon Islands.

You’ve travelled around the world and no doubt met incredible people - give us your top 3 absolute favourites.

Incredible people that come to mind are Queen Sonja, the Queen of Norway.  She is not from royalty; however she is such a wonderful person. She is a real peoples person and very knowledgeable. The second person is the Empress of Japan. I was impressed with her knowledge of South Africa and the fact that in 2010 she wrote a poem about the famous South African “vuvuzela” (almost like a horn made of plastic and is usually blown during soccer matches). The third person is Princess Takamado, daughter-in-law of the Emperor of Japan.  I admire the effort she puts into charitable work in the less privileged parts of the world.  In addition to her many charitable projects, she hosts an annual event called “turning wine into water”.   This is a fund-raising event where donations of wine are made by different Embassies based in Japan.  The wine is sold and the proceeds fund the building of water wells in very poor countries where there is a dire need for clean water.

As South African Ambassador, what are some of the challenges & highlights and what are you most proud of within your role?

Big challenges for us are budget cuts which limits our activities. Australia is a huge country and one is constantly traveling between the different states.   All have different things to offer.  Highlights for me are hosting successful events, such as our National Day reception, strengthening our bilateral relations and encouraging business between the two countries.  An added highlight is the opportunity to take in the beautiful scenery of Australia.

It is also wonderful to meet people from all over the world. I am very proud to have been given this wonderful opportunity to represent my country in Australia, with non-resident accreditation to the islands of Papua New Guinea, Nauru and the Solomon Islands.


A Personal Tale on Mandiba
By Dorcas Utkovic
Image: Nelson Mandela Foundation

Image: Nelson Mandela Foundation

What counts is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made
to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.
— Nelson Mandela

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A couple of weeks ago I met a woman. She stood tall, graceful and full of pride. I was drawn to her gentle smile and calculated words.

She asked where my people are from, a regular icebreaker in diaspora.

“South Africa” I said.

The conversation travelled very quickly. At the mention of Nelson Mandela the woman became very emotional; I could clearly see the tears threatening the corners of her eyes. Her mouth was betraying her as she tried to utter some words.

Our gaze locked and for a moment we were connected in ways we could not articulate. We embraced each other longer than we both expected.

When her mouth finally obeyed, she said, “On the walls of my house, there are two main pictures; Jesus Christ and Nelson Mandela”.

By now the world knows who Madiba is. Whether one holds him in a bright shining light or not, it is without doubt that his ethos exude hope.

At the age of 45 Nelson Xolihlahla Mandela and many freedom fighters against South Africa’s apartheid regime were sentenced to life imprisonment in Robben Island. It would take a lot of work, courage, blood shed, negotiations and more for Mandela and others to be released.

The campaign for their release stretched beyond South African borders and today in what would be his centenary year we, in diaspora are reminded of how his existence continues to shape some areas of our lives.


Image: Nelson Mandela Foundation

Image: Nelson Mandela Foundation

I was an oblivious 10 year old when prisoner 46664 walked out of Robben Island to become a free man after 27 years. But even then I felt something incredible in the air. While no one is perfect, it is up to each individual to observe and apply traits of others that help propel the humankind towards a desirable direction.

For me, among many lessons to be taken from Mandela’s legacy is that; while one can never please everyone, one should always strive to be selfless.

The diaspora have taken on Madiba’s altruistic teachings, thanking family members and friends who remain in South Africa by supporting them in many ways including regularly sending money through top digital money transfer companies such as WorldRemit. This selflessness has been demonstrated by Africans around the world, with the World Bank estimating over US$38 billion were sent to Sub-Saharan countries in 2017.

Servicing people from Musina to Cape Town, WorldRemit have helped reduce the worries of diaspora by providing instant cash pick-ups, ensuring money is received quickly and securely and allowing senders to thank those who helped them migrate in search of various opportunities.

Today I live in Australia by choice, something that my parents’ and the prior generations could not even fathom - perhaps most still can’t because the shackles of colonialism and apartheid live on in various guises. Theirs was or still is to dream small, loathe themselves & each other, look down on their culture and be enslaved on their own land. These are some of the wounds that live on.

Like anyone who’s limited by circumstances or not, Mandela had a choice. And his compelling choice makes me proud to be of South African decent. My heart swells with joy when I hear others in diaspora streets utter and live by the principle of my people, Ubuntu. No matter where you’ve come from, or what politics you affiliate to always remember Umuntu ngu muntu nga Bantu (I am, because we are).

Every time Nelson Mandela walks into a room we all feel a little bigger, we all want to stand up, we all want to cheer because we’d like to be him on a good day.
— Bill Clinton

In celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, send money home to your loved ones through WorldRemit’s instant transfers to mobile money services. Click here (http://bit.ly/torafrc) to test the awesome rates.

Nelson Mandela touches people in different ways, what’s your story of Madiba?

Comment below.

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Dorcas is a Producer, Writer, Director, Fine Artist and Artistic/Project Officer at Multicultural Arts Victoria.

She's also the Boss at OATV.