Now in its fifth year, the SUV Challenge was established in 2018 by Deep Sky Blue and the Siyavuya Foundation to promote tourism through off-road adventure sport, road safety and social cohesion. The SUV Challenge is underpinned by the pillars of Road Safety, Heritage Tourism and Social Cohesion.
“Although a lifestyle and outdoor adventure tour, what sets the SUV Challenge apart is our intentional approach to socio-economic upliftment of the communities along the tour route through collaborative efforts with our social, government and private sector partners”, says Siyavuya Mbete, managing director of Deep Sky Blue and the Siyavuya Foundation.
The 2023 Eastern Cape SUV Challenge is delivered in partnership with the Eastern Cape Department of Transport, DJ Tira & Gugu Khathi (TGK) Foundation, Act Now Organisation, Amatyama Foundation, Winnie Madikizela Mandela Local Municipality, Ingquza Hill Local Municipality, King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality, Amathole District Municipality, South African Police Service (SAPS), Department of Social Development, Department of Sports, Arts & Culture, Department of Small Business Development and the Department of Transport.
Around 70 participants will take part in the challenge that starts at the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape border in Port Edward at the Wild Coast Sun and traverse down to Gqeberha through Lusikisiki, Port St Johns Mthatha and East London.
The tour will visit Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s homestead in Mbongweni Village for a community outreach programme on road safety awareness, small business development, community safety, and Gender Based Violence (GBV). Similar outreach programmes will be undertaken throughout the tour, including in Lusikisiki on Thursday, a visit to Mqekezweni Great Place on Friday, and an activation at the Walter Sisulu University in Butterworth. On Friday, the tour moves to King William’s Town for a GBV activation at the Steve Biko Centre, followed by a Royal visit to Mngesha Great Place, and will culminate in a jazz festival evening at the Boardwalk Hotel in Gqeberha on Saturday to close off this year’s Eastern Cape SUV Challenge.
“This year we have made a concerted effort to evoke community activism to fight against social ills facing our society. Recent statistics have pointed to a rise in hearing challenges in the province. Thus, our partnership with the TGK Foundation who will bring hearing testing to the learners from under resourced rural schools who struggle with access to health amenities,” says Mbete.
Mbete further adds, “Our partnership with the Act Now Organisation seeks to draw attention to the prevailing Gender Based Violence in South Africa in aims to ensure prevention and rebuilding social cohesion to fight against GBV.”
Forming part of this year’s Eastern Cape SUV Challenge are the Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams; Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele; Minister of Sports, Arts & Culture, Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu; Deputy Minister of Transport, Lisa Nkosinathi Mangcu; Eastern Cape MEC for Transport, Xolile Nqatha; Eastern Cape MEC for Social Development, and the First Deputy Secretary General of the ruling party, Nomvula Mokonyane.