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Long Walk to Qunu to raise funds for children's hospital

To raise R500,000 to build the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital in Johannesburg, Sane Nkabinde and Irene Rugheimer, under the banner of The Dark Rose Foundation, will walk 840 kilometres to Qunu.
The Long Walk will start at 7am on International Mandela Day, 18 July 2014, from the construction site in Parktown.

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Training and research facility

Celebrities, socialites, musicians and members of the public are invited to join in the first 67 minutes in a silent showcase to Tata's cause, after which 27 white doves will be released and allowed to fly free. From here, the women will continue the walk on their own through Lesotho to reach Qunu. At about 35 kms per day on foot, this walk is estimated to take 27 days to complete, in honour of the 27 years Tata spent in prison.

The world-class, highly specialised children's hospital is located on Wits land in Parktown and is in close proximity to the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital. It will work on a referral basis and will serve as a training and research facility for highly skilled paediatricians in the Southern African region.

Founder of The Dark Rose Foundation and adventure enthusiast, Nkabinde says, "We are passionate about giving back and that's how we met and ended working together on The Dark Rose Foundation. The Long Walk to Qunu project came up and who can say no to something so amazing?"

The Dark Rose Foundation is an NPO set up to raise funds on behalf of charity organisations that support the alleviation of poverty and hunger and protect the rights of women and children.

"Madiba paved the way; it's time we ordinary South Africans took the gauntlet and continued his amazing work."

Hospital aims for hi-tech excellence

Spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital, Vuyo Lutseke, says, "We are thrilled to see The Dark Rose Foundation embark on this monumental journey to contribute towards construction of the hospital."

"Ground was broken in early March this year; however, we need as much money as possible, for this facility to compete with the best in the world. We need to furnish the hospital with the latest hi-tech medical devices and equipment."

Rugheimer, who has reached the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, Russia's highest peak, Mt Elbrus as well as Grand Teton in the US describes herself as an adventure addict. "When Sane first mentioned the idea of walking to Qunu, I thought she'd lost her mind, but who can refuse to take part in something so deeply rewarding? I am honoured and humbled to form part of something so great. We are travelling to the place where Madiba spent his formative years. It's going to be hard but it will be worth it."

The duo, has been training rigorously for the task ahead. Individually, they train about six days a week for two hours at a time and together, they take on the steep West-Cliff Stairs near Rosebank every Sunday.

Sponsorship sought

The foundation is challenging individuals and corporates to come on board and support our cause joining us in the first 67 minutes. The participation fee is set at R67 for all individuals. Corporates looking for a worthwhile team activity for Mandela Day can contribute R67 per individual participating.

Members of the public can get involved by sending the word longwalk to 40021 at a cost of R20 per SMS. Free SMS' do not apply. Interested sponsors can contact Dark Rose Foundation on or via email on . For more information, follow the Dark Rose Foundation on Twitter on @darkosefund and on Facebook on