Several thousands do the Gandhi Walk in Lenasia

The Gandhi Walk Committee, its sponsors, partners and many Lenasians are all in a state of euphoria following the 33rd Annual Gandhi Walk which took place on Sunday, April 15, starting and finishing at the iconic Gandhi Hall in Extension 5, Lenasia.

The walk has put Lenasia on the map for all the right reasons and more so that President Cyril Ramaphosa has walked it too, going the full distance of the 12KM Fun Walk. He was join by American civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson and the High Commissioner of India Ms Ruchira Kamboj amongst many other Minsters, MPs, MECs, Miss Earth South Africa, Community Leaders and other distinguished guests. The opening commenced with a helicopter landing by Paramedic Partner ER24, bringing the South African flag and the national anthem played live by the S.A.M.B Brass Band part of team Shaky Russell.

“The Gandhi Walk Committee must be commended for its hard work of truly igniting the spirit of UNITY in our community and bringing it onto the streets of Lenasia for all to experience.”, says Lenasia Ward 9 Cllr Kishore Badal.

He added that engagement by the Gandhi Walk Committee and himself with PIKITUP, City Parks, SAPS and JMPD commenced well in advance of President being confirmed to participate and that these stakeholders delivered accordingly.

The central theme for Gandhi Walk 2018 was going-green with thousands of walkers embracing the official Gandhi Walk Go-Green t-shirt which was also worn by the President to promote awareness and foster a change in attitudes in communities towards environment friendliness.

In keeping with the green theme, the Gandhi Walk Committee together with sponsor partners Rosso Foca and Kaizen handed over a donation amounting to R12,500 to the UJ Hydrogen Innovation Society for the enhancement of its eco race-car which also led the 6KM Gandhi Walk and elated many youngsters as they seen this blue space-age like vehicle whisking through the streets of Lenasia. A pledge by The International Association for Human Values (IAHV) was also presented to Committee chairman Amit Parbhucharan before the start of the 6KM “green” Fun Walk for 500 indigenous trees which will be planted during 2018.

A major accolade was when the Technical Head of the Department of Civil Engineering Science from the University of Johannesburg, Sam van Staden, presented the Gandhi Walk Committee with its certificate from Carbon Neutral Group.

Amit Parbhucharan said that this certificate validates their efforts and commitment to go-green and confirms the offset of 15 tonnes of carbon emissions which was the estimated carbon footprint for Gandhi Walk 2018 as calculated by expert consultants from Carbon Neutral Group.

There were several commemorations and honours awarded at the start line proudly announced by the MCs Shaky Russell and Marlin Govender which included President Cyril Ramaphosa, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Nelson Mandela Foundation for the Madiba Centenary, stalwart Laloo Isu Chiba accepted by his wife Laxmibhen, Google Science Fair 1st Prize Winner Kiara Nirghin, climate change and green activist Catharine Constantinides and for 30 years of community service the Saaberie Chishty Ambulance Service was also honoured and a special blue and red balloon release. Additionally a donation cheque was hand over to Aboobaker Sayed by Gandhi Walk PRO Mahendra Modi. Donations to TIBA Services for the Blind, Ikageng Old Age Relief Centre and Kanye Kanye Recycling Projects are also issued as 2018 beneficiaries of the Gandhi Walk.

This years Gandhi Walk was different with multiple community organisations being included to leverage the platform and allow walkers to walk with other organisations for a purpose which included the #RhinoWALK with SANPark Honorary Rangers; #EarthWALK with UJ Civils with almost 300 UJ students being assisted with transfers by local bus company Eldo Coaches; #WaterWALK with Operation Hydrate, #OupaFatsWALK with the Oupa Fats Wetlenz Park and Lenz Going Green which pulled a 10 meter long dragon boat along the 6km walking route with junior rowers and a flag catcher all inside of it. A special #WALK4Women with NISAA Institute for Women’s Development and the global #RedMyLips campaign being supported by AVON|Justine. A donation of ten thousand (10,000) sanitary pads was handed over to the Feminine Magic Sanitary Pad Collection Drive to help keep girls in school. This was convened with a special handover by the Gandhi Walk Committee, OnTime Readymix Concrete, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Jesse Jackson and Mrs Grand 2018 Finalist Naazneen Ismail. All of this was community in unity in true form!

The winning walkers were judged by Ocular Cycle Club Lenasia who were the official judging partners for both the 12KM and 6KM distances. Winners and times are published on the Gandhi Walk website www.gandhiwalk.org.za. Logistically the Gandhi Walk is a big operation with almost 500 marshals, waterpoint volunteers, JMPD, SAPS, medical personal from ER24 and Saaberie Chishty Ambulance Services, private security officers from MC Security, State protection services  and general volunteers all deployed are on the day to keep walkers safe and hydrated on the walking routes and at the base. Lenasia streets were promptly cleaned up by Ben Dikala Plant Hire and collected waste recycled with PIKITUP and MPACT Recycling.

The afternoon free variety entertainment was a spectacular production by Shaky Russell dubbed Let’s Party also featuring guest pop-sensation Carli J Myers with all sound and lighting for the day provided by JYM Sound and décor and event management courtesy of Event by Chetna.

PRO Mr Mahendra Modi and Chairman Amit Parbhucharan jointly expresses a heartfelt gratitude from the Gandhi Walk Committee to all sponsors, partners, supporters and volunteers who gave selflessly and came together under the spirit of a community in unity to pull off a very successful, vibrant and colourful 33rd Annual Gandhi Walk in Lenasia and now looks forward to the community supporting and doing the next Gandhi Walk in 2019.

For further information about Gandhi Walk contact Amit Parbhucharan (Chairman) on 083 400 3050 or Mahendra Modi (PRO) on 083 288 4178.

  AUTHOR
Staff reporter

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