The ring of the school bell by Mr Mathe, headmaster at Dete Secondary school was met by loud cheers at the school’s gates as the children set off on the 7th annual Jane Bubear Sports Foundation Fun run. The children who run 2km were closely followed by the adult 10km fun run.
This annual event brings together people from the wider community which consists of many villages covering over 30,000 people, transport being offered to the villagers and school children from rural schools such as Mambanje, Chezhou, Lupote, Dopota and Hwange Main Camp, some as far as 30km from the centre of Dete where the race is held. 1000 people participate in the race each year.
Martin and Hilary Winter from the UK, representing the annual sponsor Jane Bubear Sports Foundation made the journey once again to participate in the fun run. African Bush Camps also had a formidable team, with Mayeso and Smiso representing Somalisa Camp and from the Bulawayo office, consisting in the team of Katt Fenn, Adam Maini, Simba Mariga and Sophia Ndlovu.
Students from the African Bush camps Foundation Secondary Scholarship program also attended, assisting in the race preparation as a part of their mandate to serve their community and learn to give back and become leaders in their own communities and mentoring the the primary school’s which they themselves attended.
The race is officiated by a local team, Mr Tembo, headmaster of St Francis Primary School and Mr Mathe, headmaster of Detema secondary lead the local organization with Dominic Nyathi from Painted Dog Conservation organizing the wider community and official clearances as well as the medical and security back up and Mr Masuku from Main Camp, also the African Bush Camps Foundation’s Community Liaison officer co-ordinates the remote communities and school’s. 26 Marshall’s from the local community also volunteer to assist in the pre-race registration and organize the event on the day.
The day prior to the race, Martin and Hilary Winter visited the Mambanje Community which the Jane Bubear Sports Foundation has supported generously over the past years with uniforms and text books and they enjoyed the impressive progress which the school has made since their last visit in 2014. Lupote Primary School with 365 students were the recipients of warm fleece jumpers which have become a part of the fundraising Jane Bubear Sports Foundation does as part of the fun run every year, not only giving the children something new for their school uniforms but also providing warmth for the children now approaching winter where children walk anywhere from 1 – 4km every day just to get to school, some of them leaving in the early hours of the morning when it gets bitterly cold in the Kalahari sands of the Hwange region. Even though it was a public holiday, the children came in great numbers to welcome the visitors and the Headmaster and chairperson of the school development committee gave a very warm and heartfelt welcome and thanks to the visitors.
The prize giving of the fun run was celebrated with local group Ingonyama, not only promoting a friendly yet competitive sporting culture in this rural community but also bringing people together from all walks of life, forging a positive and cohesive community spirit.
Great thanks go to all of the people who helped make this day a success, the Jane Bubear Sports Foundation for it’s incredible ongoing sponsorship, the Official Team who spends several months leading up to the day co-ordinating the event, PDC who assisted with transport and back up of the medical team, National parks for security, the local schools and officials who register all 1000 participants and ensure a safe and smooth event.