The Burry Stander Foundation honoured the late mountain bike national hero, Burry Stander, on his birthday in a ceremony at the Enxolobeni Primary School in Kwanyuswa Location, Mahlabathini, on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast on Wednesday.
In early May this year, KZN Cycling demonstrated its commitment to transforming the sport during a historic act of handing over 70 bicycles to young people from the local community along the KwaZulu-Natal south coast at the KZN Autumn Festival. Of the 70 bicycles donated, 15 were given to the Burry Stander Foundation to assist with the development of a schools cycling program in the Ugu District. The Burry Stander Bike Park has between 30-50 children every Saturday who come through and have the opportunity to ride a bike.
Enxolobeni Primary School Headmaster, Mr Theo Zobolo, opened the proceedings of the bicycle handover from the Burry Stander Foundation to his school and welcomed all in attendance, while translating the importance of the occasion to all of his learners assembled on the brand new sports field that had only been officially launched two weeks before.
SGB Chairperson, Wellington Bobore, said: “When I heard that the Burry Stander Foundation was doing the handover today, I felt honoured that our deep rural school would be hosting such an event. I would like to say welcome to Enxolobeni Primary School.”
The Burry Stander Foundation’s Zibele Booi explained how the bicycles would be checked on a monthly basis to ensure that they were kept in good condition. He also encouraged all the learners on the importance of wearing a helmet when cycling, for protection.
Local Municipality representative, T.B Sithole paid respect to Burry’s mother Mandie for not losing hope when Burry lost his life, but by continuing a dream and vision of a cyclist. “Thank you for what you are doing for the school. As a municipality it is our duty to drive development in our area. We don't speak about it; we see it. This [handover] is what we are talking about. You are advertising our area and we are so happy and so excited.”
CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism, Justin Mackory, said: “One day, if you really get into this cycling, another Burry Stander will come through. Mandie, what you are doing for our sport is amazing. May your organisation and the tourism sector meld to grow this area. Very few schools have the presence in the community like this school. Long may this be a beacon of opportunity for everyone.”
Mandie Stander thanked all the stakeholders for their attendance at the handover. “I want to welcome all the learners – these bikes are for you, this is your day. Whenever you touch one of these bicycles, please just remember that Burry came from this part of the world and that he would be proud to see you starting off cycling and enjoying the sport in your community like everybody from all over the world. I thank everybody here for the opportunity.”
Fifteen bicycles were handed over to the learners, who each took turns to cycle a lap around the school field. For some learners, it was their first time on a bicycle, yet each and very one completed a lap around the field, including the Headmaster Mr Zobolo, much to the delight of the learners. The learners also celebrated Burry’s birthday with a slice of birthday cake and some juice, which Mandie supplied to all in attendance.