Songezo Jim, a professional road cyclist started a cycling academy in the Masiphumelele Township to expose teenage children to cycling rather than the other vices that most youngsters get exposed to living in an impoverished community.
Jim had a difficult childhood, losing his mother at 12 and his father two years later. He moved to Cape Town to live with his aunt. When in 2014 watching the Cape Town Cycle tour race, the world’s largest time cycling event going past right his community, he decided that he wanted to become a professional cyclist. He took up the sport, made good progress and placed third in the under 23 African Road Race Championships in 2012.
This helped land a contract with MTN-Qhubeka, Dimension Data, and now he is racing for the Kuwait – Cartucho.es team. Songezo has held fast to his commitment of giving back to his home community in Cape Town and his cycling academy is growing from strength to strength. Songezo Jim next race is in China to ride the Qinghai Lake International Cycling Race at a high elevation of 3600 to 5000 meters above sea level. The height imposes a great challenge, even for serious cyclists. The cycling route, 1350 kilometers in length, runs around Qinghai Lake.
With so many budding cyclists following in his steps the academy urgently required larger premises with security to keep the donated academy bikes safe, AWOL Tours decided to support by sponsoring storage space at the Masicorp Chasmay Campus.
We recently launched this new partnership and moved the AWOL bikes and the academy bikes into our new shared space. The AWOL Team invited the Songezo cycling academy cyclists to a BBQ / braai to meet the team. Nonny’s café and Mark’s braai bus provided a perfect launch feast and many plans for future cycling development were made.
The academy now has a workshop and storage space, and we have an opportunity to assist in developing Masiphumelele’s cycling legacy and training future AWOL cycling guides.
We look very much forward to introducing our guests to the Songezo cycling academy and also showcasing the Masicorp crafters and artisans who share the premises and take so much pride in their work.