It has barely been a few years since the club was formed but it has already made an impact on young people’s lives in Khayelitsha
In the heart of Khayelitsha, one of the oldest black townships, where crime is the order of the day, is a Cycle Academy known as Bonga Cycle Academy. It’s aim is to draw youth’s attention from township ills towards healthy sport and exercise.
Behind the project is Bonga Ngqobane, a young man who is also trained in cycling and loves the sport.
Ngqobane, 25 says, “The idea is to empower youth through sport and education. We use cycling as a catalyst to fight social illness in this community”.
According to Ngqobane cycling as a sport is mainly found in the rich suburbs of the city. He says the escalating crime rate by youth shows that they need to be changed.
“I discovered that youth like cycling but do not know where to start and get the necessary skills. So I used this to attract youth from loitering in the streets,” he says.
At the academy they also teach entrepreneurial skills.
The Cycling Academy aims to have an inter-school cycling league in Khayelitsha.
The club is mainly meant for youth between the ages of 12 and 18 for both girls and boys.
Bonga Academy started in 2014. In the same year it participated in the Cape Argus Cycle Tour and in 2015 the team finished 198th in the ABSA Cape Epic.
“Since we started we have 3 guys who have joined the Sampaba Cycling club in Johannesburg. The other guy who was once a member of a gang joined us too and is now working full time as a carpenter,” says Ngqobane.
Since its inception, 10 youth have gone through the academy and are gainfully using their time.
The academy is also looking for sponsors.
Although the programme is for both boys and girls it is unfortunately male dominated. He feels that with time they will introduce more females to cycling. “Girls are shy about scratches on their bodies but scratches are a sign of success,” he says.
Media met Yongama Yose (18) at a cycling workshop in Observatory.
“I am very happy to be in the club. At least I have something to occupy myself with and I believe this will provide a chance for me to get some employment”.