Article, Journalism, mass media and communication Topic: Songo Fipaza
The wise saying goes, ‘Great deeds are done when man and mountain meet.’ Songo Fipaza is one such story. It is an extraordinary partnership of Christoph Sauser, world champion mountain biker, and Songo Fipaza, a renowned local frontrunner. They have created a welfare platform Songo.info. Sauser is from Switzerland. He had been visiting South Africa often since 1997 and he used to often mention about his love for Stellenbosch. His love for the country is profound and meeting with Songo Fipaza was incidental in 2008. In this man he recognized the talents and how helpful he would be in the plan envisaged. . Fipaza was an industrious individual and had the passion to make his children’s dreams possible.
Saucer was on the lookout for a solid buddy for the 2008 Cape Epic. The rules and regulations were strict as race organizations allowed identical racers to form a team. In South Africa it was difficult to find a sportsperson in this category in Specialized gear for this race. Top racers at that level were hard to find who were free from contracts. As the problem defied solution, Saucer thought of a charity run by creating own charity. Some Specialized seconded the idea and they were willing to come forward and Saucer negotiated with a South African, the GT rider of the time, Burry Stander. With this arrangement both would run in special uniform, specifically designed for the charity.
With the major problem solved, the next issue was organizing the event. Charity and its objectives need to be notified. Ruth Bird rendered help and with his support they were fairly confident that everything would be in proper place to enable them to utilize the Cape Epic event to collect funds in support of some local sports organizations. Saucer mentions “At an ABSA Bank dinner, by sheer coincidence, we met Songo Fipaza and heard of the need for sport in the Kayamandi township of Stellenbosch. Songo mentioned the need for a BMX facility, and that was it – our goals were aligned! Extraordinary!”(Christoph…) The project began to take shape.
They christened the charity as “Songo.”The procedural aspects of establishing a charity were still there. The authorities of “the JAG Foundation” came forward to help. They made available the leverage of their infrastructure. They had good reputation and they were associated with “the Mighty Meters program already running in Kayamandi” and they were well known in South Africa. Their next focus was to collect funds to build a BMX track. Another renowned individual Erica Green, “the former South African MTB Olympian” offered her help and expertise in getting the BMX track ready. It took 4 months to raise adequate funds for the BMX track and then they moved to their next target to establish a mountain biking club in Kalamandi for the children in the higher age groups.
“Saucer informs “By the end of 2009 the Cycling4Kayamandi project was up and running and beginning to make waves wherever the kids showed up to race. With over 25 Specialized Rockhopper and Stump jumper hardtail mountain bikes at their disposal Songo and the kids have been training and racing local events which include duathlons, multisport races and showing the mountain bike community what they are all about!”(Christoph…)
Sports activities one after another began to be introduced under the umbrella of “Songo”. In 2010 they began with their next project of setting up their own structure. That was part of their future plans to give a boost to the sports activities in South Africa. Many participate in a number of events in “the Western Cape and around South Africa”. Participation in these activities has developed their confidence and has contributed to the growth of their personality. Kayamandi is now a great place for children to realize their dreams.
Christoph Sauser | World Mountain Biker | Songo Fipaza – Songo.info
Accessed on January 24, 2014