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Makana Green Fun Run 2014

About 850 locals participate at Makana Green Fun Run

Some 850 participants took to the streets of Grahamstown on 16 March to show their support for environmental awareness and green living. The newly revamped Makana Green Fun Run attracted a range of locals including Rhodes University staff and students, business people, families and schoolchildren. 

Winner of the 6.4 km run Mr Rooi Rikhotso said he was thrilled with the result and that he particularly enjoys participating in the Fun Run. A member of the Grahamstown branch of Run/Walk for Life, Mr Rikhotso started running in 1989 and says as long as he receives necessary support he will keep going. Sponsorship from his employer, Beer Properties, as well as Albany Sports and Makana Municipality, enables him to keep participating and saw him finish first in the 2014 Makana Brick Nite Race earlier this year.

Second place went to Mr Basie Bonaparte, Mr Rikhotso’s coach and mentor who has run this race for at least the last five years. Having started running 38 years ago when he was 14 years old, Mr Bonaparte said he loves participating in this event as it “encourages people to give something back to the community”. Mr Bonaparte runs his own construction business in town and when he’s not running himself he can be found in various quarters training schoolchildren and aspirant athletes. To date he has run the 2 Oceans several times and will be participating in the upcoming Bruintjies run. “I have got such a passion for running, there is no way I can stop it now,” he said.

The prizes, in the form of a range of indigenous trees, were awarded to the participants who planted them during a ceremony at DD Siwisa Primary School last week, officiated by Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, and other dignitaries. Mr Rikhotso received an Ekebergia capensis and Mr Bonaparte an Harpephyllum caffrum. A number of other prizes were awarded, including third place to Mr Haden Jacobs, best outfit for her “Paris inspired runway-chic” ensemble made out of recycled materials to Ms Kay Mosiani, biggest proportion of a Rhodes University residence participation to Amina Cachalia residence, biggest school team to Samuel Ntsiko and St Andrews College, best business support to Makana Brick. Other trees that were planted, all supplied by Makana Parks Department, include Podocarpus falcatus (third place), Olea europaea subsp africana (best outfit), White stinkwood (biggest Rhodes residence), Dovyalis caffra (biggest school team), and Ekebergia capensis (best business support).

According to co-organiser and convenor of the Green Fund Working Group of the RU Environmental Committee, Professor Fred Ellery, the prizes symbolised the objectives of the Makana Fun Run to “build a better world for tomorrow”. “I can think of nothing I would have done in honour of me than have someone plant a tree. Hopefully these trees might grow into something tall and symbolic like what these children might grow into,” he said.

Dr Mabizela noted that environmental issues can’t be separated from human rights and social justice issues in that our values and ethics impact on our environment. He said that trees play a very important role in school environments, as they help to create aesthetically pleasing and healthy environments. “I encourage you to nurture and protect these trees. May they serve as a constant reminder of our connectedness to nature and the environment,” he said.

All funds raised from the event have been accumulated in the Green Fund with a view to investing in equipment to monitor the use of electricity consumption in residences aimed at developing a strategy to reduce electricity use in all parts of the University.

According to Professor Fred Ellery, as regards use of the funds, “at the moment we are looking to green Grahamstown, especially schools and public spaces. We also hope to support investment in monitoring electricity consumption in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the University.  We hope to do this through a residence challenge where residences compete on a per capita basis to demonstrate energy conservation practices.  A saving of five percent on electricity on campus could save the University about R 100 000 a month and substantially reduce our carbon footprint.” He said the committee is also looking to support water conservation practices and enhance water security on campus and is committed to responsible spending of funds soon.

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Last Modified: Wed, 13 Jul 2016 16:46:33 SAST