* The event has been organised for the past two decades and has reached out to many people as beneficiaries
* Such as cervical cancer screening to a total of about 800 women *Assisted learners with disability at Nkhotakota LEA School
* Provision of solar borehole pump at Liwaladzi Health Centre and cholera infection prevention campaigns
By Duncan Mlanjira
Sunday’s Tour de Dwangwa, an annual charity event organised by Dwangwa Round Table 69, is in aid of supporting needy students who have been negatively affected by CoVID-19.
The event’s convenor Phillip Mwanza said all is set for the race, which attracts professional and other passionate cyclists in the Central Region district of Nkhotakota.
Mwanza said Tour de Dwangwa, which has been organised for the past two decades, has reached out to many people as beneficiaries such as cervical cancer screening to a total of about 800 women; assisted learners with disability at Nkhotakota LEA School; provision of solar borehole pump at Liwaladzi Health Centre; cholera infection prevention, campaigns, amongst others.
“The charity event used to be organised by Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc before it was handed over to Round Table Dwangwa 69,” Mwanza said. “For the Round Table, it is a fundraising tool to fund its charity activities.
“We get sponsorship from companies, distribute some funds and any excess we commit to charity activities,” he said while applauding the continued support from hosts Illovo Sugar Malawi and mobile phone service provider, TNM.
Other sponsors include Intersaf Safety; Lemko General Dealers; Standard Bank; NBS Bank; Dwasco SACCO; Rafiki; Ngala Beach Lodge; Mwai Cane Cutting Contractor; North End Tailors and TMRC.
“We have been assured professional cyclists from Zomba, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Blantyre cycling clubs and we expect a glamorous event as is the case over the years,” Mwanza said.
Meanwhile, one of the professional cyclist would be Prince Charles Kabichi, who has been sponsored to participate by patrons of Potbelly Lodge, Bar & Restaurant in Naperi, Blantyre where he works as chef.
The patrons decided to afford him the opportunity when they realised that the chef who serves them well is a passionate professional cyclist but he could not participate because of lack of resources.
The patrons, led by Medson Kalambule — who donated a professional cycling bike for Kabichi to train for the race — mobilized over K265,000 for his registration fee at K10,000, travel costs by public transport, accommodation and stay over expenses in Dwangwa.
The gesture by the patrons — most of whom are very prominent professionals in the country that included former Blantyre City Mayor, Noel Chalamanda — was described by Village Headman Zingwangwa as a spirit of staff empowerment, staff motivation, community service and sports development, all rolled into one package.
Owner of Potbelly Lodge, Bar & Restaurant, prominent lawyer Arthur Nanthuru also paid tribute to all the patrons for the assistance for Kabichi to fulfill his passion and dream of taking his cycling career to the top, saying “he will surely come back from this event a lot more motivated and most likely continue to serve us all with more enthusiasm in the future”.
He further applauded the patrons saying “such generosity is rare” in that they visit the hospitality facility not just to pass the time but to engage themselves on how they can make an impact on the society.
“These are tough economic times but you spared your hard-earned money to assist Charles in this way,” he said. “He will not come back very motivated to serve you even better but you have also contributed towards Tour de Dwangwa’s charity drive as a community service.”
Kabichi is a member of Blantyre Cycling Club for the past seven years under coach Dyton Chimwaza, a veteran in the trade and that he has participated in several charity races before — one being Tour de Chikwawa that raised funds to pay for underprivileged children.
He became a certified chef after being trained Catholic Institute at Nantipwiri in Thyolo and became passionate of cycling through a Priest when he worked at Bee Hive in Chilomoni.
“I am hoping to be back in groove after Dwangwa to compete for top levels because I intend to compete for the title and not just to participate,” he said in an interview, adding that he had practised very hard by cycling as far as Neno, Chikwawa, Zomba, Mulanje as well as around Blantyre.
Professional cyclists are looking forward to the event after a break due to CoVID-19. Lilongwe Cycling Club member, Bushrider Ellies Elton posted on Facebook: “Only those who are cyclist — not including cyclists — are meeting for the big ride of the year, Tour de Dwangwa.
“It’s not a joking ride, go hard or go home. #lilongwecyclingclub and #xroadmtbmalawi will be there. Let’s all meet for this challenging race.”