Multi-trade shipping line Safmarine has donated seven retired seafreight containers to the Life Cycling Academy (LCA), a not-for-profit organization committed to developing and uplifting children living in poor communities in South Africa. The containers will be converted into modern buildings for the Khayelitsha-based Velokhaya BMX Oval, a new facility aimed at providing a ‘safe recreational space’ for learners from its four surrounding schools and beyond. Explains Amos Ziqubu, co-founder of the LCA: ‘There are very few places in South Africa’s previously disadvantaged communities which provide a safe space for children after school. Because of the lack of recreational facilities, many young children are left to roam the streets where they are often exposed to crime.

‘The LCA, which was established six years ago, has found cycling ’ an environmentally friendly form of transport and healthy sporting activity - to be highly effective in transforming the lives of these children because it is also an activity that teaches them about commitment, discipline and determination; attributes that are important to achieve success in life.’ Cycling has already changed the lives of more than 500 youth living in South Africa’s Western Cape townships and the aim of the new BMX facility is to allow even more children to benefit.

‘The BMX Oval is the first phase of a long-term project aimed at providing sustainable and life-changing opportunities for the youth living in South Africa’s poorest communities. To us, cycling is more than a form of transport or sport ’ it’s an opportunity to change lives,’ says Glyn Broomberg, CEO of the LCA and its co-founder.

The retired seafreight containers are being converted into modern facilities with funds raised by the LCA’s Velokhaya/Tour de France campaign and money provided by sponsors. The Safmarine containers will be converted into workshops (where a mechanics course will be offered providing further job creation opportunities) and administration, clubhouse and change room facilities, amongst others. The donation of containers forms part of Safmarine’s award-winning ‘Containers in the Community’ program whereby shipping containers, retired from the Safmarine fleet, are given new life as permanent, sustainable structures. Safmarine has, since the program was launched in the early 90s, donated more than 8000 containers to over 2000 projects, the majority of which have been focused on educational and community upliftment.