Pretoria – About 25 000 people today participated in the Unite4Mandela Sports and Cultural Day activities, especially cycling, running and walking.
In the 67km cycling race in the female category, Ashleigh Pasio came in first, Marianne Vos second and Cherise Stander at third. The race winners, in both male and female categories, received an unprecedented R250 000, second-placed riders will receive R150 000, while third-place riders will pocket R100 000. The cycling race started from Loftus Stadium at 06h00 and finished at the Union Buildings.
The main running event is the 27km road race, and the winners of the race will pocket R150 000, with second getting R100 000 and third R50 000. The winner of the 9.4km run will receive R40 000, while the 9.4km walk winner will get R20 000.
There will be cash prizes for the top ten competitors in the two main events, and there will also be prizes for the top three in the 9.4km running/walking event, and also prizes given in a number of different age groups.
The 27km run also started at 6.30am from Union Buildings, while the 9.4km race started at 6:45am from Union Buildings, the 5km Fun Walk started at 7am from Union Buildings.
The mega event will include 67 artists and comedians who will entertain and unite the nation in remembrance of the late former President Nelson Mandela.
The campaign is an initiative of the Departments of Arts and Culture and Sport and Recreation.
They will be joined on the day by a host of #Unite4Mandela ambassadors including a number of Comrades winners like the legendary Bruce Fordyce, Ironman and 1991 Comrades winner Nick Bester, 2012 winner Ludwick Mamabolo and this year’s champion Bongmusa Mthembu.
There will be dozens of other well-known sports stars from all codes, TV personalities, politicians, comedians and musicians, competing alongside their fellow South Africans for this worthy cause.
The Nelson Mandela Sports and Culture Day is not only about the athletes, after the races, a concert will be held on the South Lawns of the Union Buildings.
Speaking about the arts and culture program, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said: “The Department of Arts and Culture has been delegated with the special responsibility to lead and coordinate programs on nation building and social cohesion.
“We believe this event contributes to the significant initiative to uphold the legacy and promote the values of the late former President and international icon, Tat’ uNelson Mandela. As Arts and Culture, we are privileged to have leadership role and appreciate our partnership with Sports and Recreation,” he said.
After the medals are handed out, dignitaries such as Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, Minister Mthethwa and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation, before the star-studded entertainment begins.
The concert promises something for everyone with MCs Lupi Ngcayisa, Tall Ass Mo and Celeste Ntuli presenting artists like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Lira, the Parlatones, Kurt Darren, the Mahotella Queens, Zakes Bantwini, Sbongile Khumalo, AKA, Beatenberg, Sifiso Ncwane, Naima Mclean, Phuzekhemisi, Zahara, Karen Zoid, Desmond and the Tutus, Zandile Mzazi, Supreme I Crew, Botlhale, Kryptonite, Gcina Mhlope, Di Tswina Tsa Ngwao and Mzwake Mbuli.