Batswana’s growing interest in hiking was evident at the Desert Bush Walk on Saturday with thousands travelling to Jwaneng to take part in the annual event.
As well as an impressive local turn-out, the walk, which is now in its fifth year, once again attracted international attention.
Participants from Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, East Africa, Nigeria, Australia and Germany all took part, giving the event a truly global feel.
Part of the proceeds from the walk will go towards medical help for Letsopa Junior Secondary School student Thabi *, who has a condition known as Amelia and was born without legs or hands.
Confined to a wheelchair, the 16-year-old cannot feed, bath or dress herself and requires around the clock care.
Despite her disability, Thabi is determined to make the most of her life and has learnt to write by gripping a pen between her neck.
To aid her studies, the teenager requires a special desk and chair, a modified pen, a computer with a special cursor and table as well as a pointer.
Speaking after the walk, in which he completed 15kms, the Chief Walker, Vice President Slumber Tsogwane expressed his gratitude to Jwaneng and Mabutsane leadership for working with the event’s organisers to ensure its success.
“To those who are from outside, we are truly honoured by your participation. I would like to encourage them to visit our tourism sites and appreciate the beauty of our country. I commend the CSI Concepts Foundation for raising funds for charity and development projects.
“We encourage the private sector to have an input in these kind of initiatives and promoting the spirit of volunteerism. I have been told the organisers have so far donated P900, 000 to the deserving beneficiaries which was raised from the previous walk,” said Tsogwane
For his part, Bush Walk organiser, Archibald Ngakayagae said the concept is gaining popularity every year, as proved by the increasing number of participants.
He revealed for the past four years they have been contributing towards basic education in schools around Jwaneng and Mabutsane. This includes building a Resource Centre for Seses Primary School.
Meanwhile, one of the participants, Thabo Maretlane of Moshoeshoe Walk, explained they mobilise people from Lesotho and South Africa to take part because Bush Walk Organisers also support and participate in their event.
He added they have partnered with CSI Concepts to expand this initiative across the SADC region.