Slave Route Challenge : celebrating the link between Reunion and South Africa
The sunrays welcomed the many participants of the Slave Route Challenge on Sunday morning. This historically rich event was the occasion for a further step in French-South-African friendship, as a Delegation of the Reunion Island took part in the challenge.
They were 10.000 runners to take part in the 8th edition of the Slave Route Challenge in Cape Town over the week-end. With distances ranging between 5km and 21.km, this run gathered all-time beginners as well as avid runners. All shared one goal: to celebrate the abolishment of slavery while commemorating those who have passed through the paved walkways of the Mother City.
The running and walking paths were chosen for their historical significance. Participants were indeed taken from the City Hall through various historical landmarks such as District 6, Bo Kaap or the Castle of Good Hope. All of these sites were selected to allow people to not only experience the striking contrast of Cape Town but to also evoke a sense of history that still lingers in the present. Organizers have had this goal in mind since the very beginning. Fatima Allie, spokesperson for the organizing company, Itheko Management, says : “A running event with the purpose of raising awareness about our history and our heritage was envisioned, and the Slave Route Challenge was born”,
Past events have sparked tremendous international interest and through the involvement of both the Reunion Island and the French General Consulate in Cape Town, a partnership has been formed with the Athletic League and Departmental Council of Reunion Island who has sent a delegation of runners and their coaches to participate in the Cape Town Challenge.
The runners seemed to have an incredible time, as the conditions were excellent for such a challenge. The Reunionese Anne Atia, a 10-km runner, deemed it to be an “outstanding challenge”. She continues: “The Slave Route Challenge flew by without me noticing. It was full of surprises. I run ten kilometers and I was glad to run a part of the race with half-marathoners. The conditions were excellent. I will keep these images in my memory.”
Another Reunionese runner, Eddy Clements, was also very pleased with his experience: “The Slave Route Challenge is very well organized, with an amazing spirit along the day. A lot of people were there to support us and I will always remember the great moments in Bo-Kaap, with extraordinary landscapes.”
In reciprocation, a similar event will be staged on Reunion Island on 20 December 2018, over the same time the Festival Liberté Métisse is taking place.
“It is a privilege to partner with the City of Cape Town to take part in these commemorative races where people of all fitness levels, diverse backgrounds and varied interests can come together to pay homage to the abolishment of slavery, a blight on the common historic background of both our countries. We are looking forward to the event organized on Reunion Island in December as part of the Festival Liberté Métisse”, commented Laurent AMAR, Consul General of France in Cape Town.