Twelve years ago AWOL Tour guests gifted enough money so we could purchase three kids bikes to donate to Ukhanyo primary school in Masiphumlelele as prizes to their class poetry competition working in collaboration with  Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN).  At the time I had no expectations of the outcome of the donation and just hoped that the bicycle would go to make a small difference in a child’s life. Often donations are not often measured and the results not always realised until many years later.

AWOL Tours has been operating Bicycle Township Tours  in Masiphumelele since 2002 and felt we needed to expand our operations.

Then one day I was interviewing potential tour guides for a job as a #cycling #township tour guide. One of the candidates Lutho Silwana said he was inspired when he won a bicycle for his poetry at school!  He told me the story of how the bicycle gave him so much joy and how he went from a nerdy kid to the coolest kid in school! Suddenly everyone was asking him about his poetry and wanted to ride his bike! He made so much money from it renting it out to other kids to ride around the #Masiphumelele #Township. We had to hire to him!

Lutho has now been guiding for AWOL Tours for 6 months. He has made it possible for AWOL Tours to launch the daily scheduled Bicycle Township Tour departures and his favourite part of guiding is sharing his home and community with visiting guests. When he is not guiding he enjoys time with friends and family and listening to his favourite rap artist Eminem or he is helping the AWOL team at the V&A Waterfront sales office with bike rentals and tour sales.

I feel amazed that this bicycle donation did make a difference to someone’s life and our AWOL Tours Team!