When was the organization established?
- The Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy was informally established in 2003 and formally registered as the Life Development Cycling Academy (LDCA), a Section 21 company, in 2004.
What does the word Velokhaya mean?
- The word Velokhaya is derived from the French word for cycling (velo) and the Xhosa word for home (khaya) – as such, we’re regarded as the ‘home of cycling’ in Khayelitsha (Khayelitsha means ‘new home’). The name Velokhaya is similar to a word in South Africa’s Xhosa language, ‘velakhaya’ which means ‘to bring home’ or ‘to come home’.
How many members do you have?
- The Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy currently has an active membership of around 60 – 80 members. (The number of active members is largely determined by the number of bicycles available).
What programmes do you offer?
- We currently offer a BMX and road cycling programme.
What are some of your successes to date?
- For the past decade, our programmes and our many success stories have successfully shown how increased self-esteem and confidence on the bike helps to inspire and equip young people to deal with the difficulties they face in life and help them achieve their goals, both on and off the bike. Here are a few examples:
- Luthando Kaka was the first black South African cyclist to compete internationally as a permanent member of a European pro-team. In 2013, Luthando Kaka became the first black rider to captain a national pro-cycling team when he was appointed captain of Team Bonitas. Luthando currently serves as a member of the Velokhaya board and his story was featured, in January 2014, on CNN African Voices.
- Former Velokhaya rider Songezo Jim – who joined our Academy after he was orphaned and moved to Cape Town to live with his aunt – is currently a professional cyclist with TEAM MTN Qhubeka p/b Samsung, Africa’s first ever UCI registered pro-continental road cycling team. Songezo is also the first black rider from South Africa to get to the second division of world cycling, the highest level of any team from the African continent. In March 2013 he became the first black South African cyclist to finish in the top 5 of a UCI registered 2.1 category race and he also was also part of the team that won the Milan-Sanremo (298km) race in Italy. His story was featured on CNN Human to Hero.
- Velokhaya member Luthando Gqamana graduated with a LLB law degree in March 2013. He completed his Law degree in 4 years and is an example of someone who has achieved off the bike.
Is it true that the Academy was responsible for establishing South Africa’s first black professional cycling team?
- Our Academy was indeed responsible for establishing South Africa’s only ‘all black’ professional cycling team! The team, originally formed in January, 2006 with sponsorship from Liberty Life, was later known as the acsis professional cycling team. Our elite team is currently known as the Velokhaya team and is sponsored by Cathsseta.We are indeed proud to have been the first organisation in South Africa to successfully develop cycling in disadvantaged communities to the level where its members are able to compete both nationally and internationally.
Not only have our cyclists delivered top results, but their successes have inspired other youngsters (who are able to identify with them and their circumstances) to achieve success.
Luthando Kaka and Songezo Jim are two former Velokhaya riders who have represented South Africa on the international cycling circuit.
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