BY BRADLEY GROVERS
Rector and Vice Chancellor at Stellenbosch University (SU), Prof Wim de Villers was seen putting his mettle to the test on Sunday 10 October at this year’s annual Cape Town Cycle Tour. The tour stretches along the Cape Peninsula, finishing off at the foot of Table Mountain. The team of 19 cyclists consisted of alumni, staff, students and friends from the neighbouring communities, and set a cracking pace whilst negotiating slipstreams.
Considered to be the largest time trial in the world, the cycle tour tests both the strength and the perseverance of its athletes whilst they race for their respective charities or initiatives. As done in previous years, the SU-student-driven initiative, #Move4Food, used it as an opportunity to raise funds, becoming this year’s priority initiative for SU’s annual fund for aiding students, Bridge the Gap.
According to Siya Ndlovu, the Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser Coordinator at SU’s Development and Alumni Relations Division, “#Move4Food was established in 2018 with the aim to create food banks on both Stellenbosch and Tygerberg campuses with the ultimate goal of raising R10 million in both cash and goods as donations, ensuring proper food security to students.”
The initiative “aims to alleviate food shortages among students on all SU’s campuses…[and] has been receiving support in various ways, acknowledging that hunger is an issue that can’t afford complacency,” Ndlovu adds.
“One student who goes hungry is one too many,” says De Villiers. “I remained geared and ready to conquer this iconic tour.”
“Generally, it is perceived that students are fully-funded at Stellenbosch University, which is not the case. Many students do have poor access to their basic necessities such as food and toiletries. The aim is to provide students with a sustainable model granting stigma-free access to basic necessities to further strengthen the spirit and culture of ubuntu among students,” says Ndlovu.
The generous support of donors has helped the #Move4Food initiative to raise more than R1.4 million since 2018. #Move4Food continues to contribute to the safety net for students at risk of experiencing hunger. Last year, the initiative distributed R494 450 amongst 656 students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, to ensure these students have access to food.
“The #Move4Food initiative and the Matie community has my full support,” adds De Villiers, expressing that “no student should stress about where their next meal might come from.”
To support the #move4food initiative, visit https://www.matiesalumni.com/bridge-the-gap-annual-fun/ or @bridgethegapsu on Instagram and Facebook for more information on making a donation.