Businessman and philanthropist Teddy Govender, has taken up the cudgels to raise R300 000 to support impoverished students, as part of VOC’s Bursary Project. The Charity in Motion campaign, now its fifth year, is a project who which merges two of Govender’s passions – running and education. Govender, the dealer principle of Mercedez Benz Claremont, will run 300 kilometres over one month.
His goal is to complete a daily 12km run over a 25 day period from 23 May to 24 June. On Day 11, Govender had completed 132 kilometres and an impressive R200 000 has been raised for the project.
Despite the stresses of managing a busy car dealership, Govender has taken on the Charity in Motion as a personal project.
“I’ve always had this motto that any good I have in my personal life, should be paid forward,” he says.
“I feel this project is in recognition of all the challenges faced by youth. There are deserving youngsters around us who need a break. If more people become active citizens, more people will have a chance.”
The need for corporate investment in education is more important than ever before, as for the vast majority of South African youth, tertiary education is simply out of reach. In South Africa, the cost of higher education is a sore-point, and has given rise to mass protests by student movements fighting for free education. Thousands of impoverished students annually turn to student loans to fund their education, creating a cycle of debt, which perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
While the South African government ploughs more funding into the high education sector and debates the prospect of fee-free education, there should be concerted effort from the corporate sector to boost bursary initiatives.
“If businesses don’t accept responsibility, then we will be in trouble as we will not create future leaders. While businesses develop skilled people, what are they doing to develop their local communities? There’s a synergy between business, community and education that runs deep and far that we cannot ignore,” says Govender.
“A certain percentage of monies must go to projects that drives and empowers disadvantaged individuals. The disparity in South Africa between the less fortunate and the fortunate cannot be denied. Its basic economics that if we don’t empower the disadvantaged, we continue to perpetuate the status quo in South Africa, and the poor will always remain in a needy position.
“How do you change that? Go to communities and give young people an opportunity to progress…”
Govender hits the road at dusk every day, starting from Steurhof Station in Plumstead, all along the winding and bustling Main Road to VOC studios in Salt River. He is usually trailed by his colleagues driving along the side of the road, who are there to give moral support or simply capture some shots in motion. The 12 kilometre run usually takes him 1 hour and 5 minutes and when he arrives at the studio, there is not a sweat bead in sight.
“It’s not about VOC or Teddy Govender, it’s about a greater calling. I value all the emails, words of encouragement and Whatsapp messages. It’s wonderful and it spurs me on …”
Posted by Teddy Teddy Govender on Montag, 5. Juni 2017
Since the launch of the project two weeks ago, many local businesses have pledged their support. Super Group Dealerships, which owns Mercedez Benz Claremont, has a network of 53 dealerships in Cape Town, and have pledged R1000 per dealership. Other competitor brands have also contributed. With VOC annually donating R100 000 from its proceeds of the VOC Summer Festival to the Bursary Project, Govender could well reach his R300 000 target.
For Govender, the Charity in Motion project is simply a vehicle for agitating change in our society and to make a meaningful impact on our communities.
“The drumbeat remains… its incumbent to become active citizens; we must identify this as a cause worthy of our attention. We can all stand on the side-lines and criticize government, but we must translate criticism into action,” he stresses.
“We have to strive to make a difference. If you change one child’s life, you change a household, a household can change a community and we can potentially change the country. But we have to act and become part of the solution.”
VOC listeners can contribute by depositing directly in the station’s bank account
Voice of the Cape
Account number: 502 601 79252
Branch Code: 201 909
Ref : VOC Bursary