SEMLI and Campus Tours rise to the Madiba challenge

Posted on August 02, 2019

When you ask your colleagues – in a sporting environment – to participate in a fundraising or any other event, you can be sure that some serious but fun competitive behaviour will be displayed.

On Friday 19 July 2019, SEMLI (the Sport, Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Institute) put their staff’s fitness to the test in celebration of Mandela Day. The objective was simple: teams need to cycle for 67 minutes on a WattBike and the team who cycled the furthest won the privilege of choosing the charity to whom the donations will go.

The ten appointed captains had to recruit members for their teams. Planned by the SEMLI social committee, certain rules applied to ensure that staff also mingled and got to know one another better, e.g. no two team members were allowed to come from the same department. This meant that the pressure was on and captains jumped at the opportunity to get a carefully selected team together. 

A minimum team entry fee of R100 was required, and any additional donations – cash, clothing or food items – were of course also welcome. For a couple of days leading up to the event you could hear serious strategy-talk and the all-important “what are we going to wear?” being discussed in the building.

Finally, the day arrived and the SEMLI staff couldn’t wait to get pedalling. Prof Martin Schwellnus set the pace for the day by completing a 67min run on campus early that morning. With gazebo’s set up, bottles of water in ice buckets and a TV screen to monitor each team’s progress and distance, the scene was set for a memorable day.  

A lot of cheering, some jelly legs and very colourful outfits eventually led the SEMLI staff to raise an amazing amount of R9 500 and 5 black bags full of clothing and food items! After careful calculations, it was confirmed that the Flaming Flamingo team won and would make arrangements for the donations to be dropped off at the charity organisation of their choice.

It was a day filled with competition, laughs, camaraderie and celebrations, with Tata Madiba once again bringing people together. Thank you to everyone who participated and donated, you truly embraced the spirit of Mandela Day!


10 teams cycled for 67min each
47 SEMLI staff members actively cycled in the event, while lots more cheered and made donations
Total distance covered by all the teams combined: 380.79 km
Most distance covered by a single team: 45.06km
Funds & goods raised: R9 500 and 5 black bags full of clothing and food items


In honour of Madiba

As part of their Mandela Day initiative, the University of Pretoria Campus Tours (more commonly known as UP Campus Tours) got busy on the fringes of Hatfield Campus.

Honours students, along with Prof Karen Harris and her colleague Ms Charlene Herselman, spent 67 minutes picking up litter on the fringes of Hatfield Campus.

UP Campus Tours is an organisation run by the honours students of the Heritage and Cultural Tourism course, under the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies. It was initiated 16 years ago by Prof Harris.

Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world and the ability to make an impact. This initiative by UP Campus Tours was a small act that transformed the outside University environment, so that the University community has a clean and safe environment to live in.

“We hope our one small deed will inspire others to take on the 67 minute challenge in the future,” said Professor Harris.

- Author Elri Pollard and Professor Karen L Harris

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