The runners and cyclists came as far as Western Cape and Swaziland for the inaugural The Icon's Journey Marathon to experience the former Transkei homeland of the Eastern Cape where some of the South African freedom fighters were born.  Athletes who took part in the event had the privilege of touching the birth places of Walter Sisulu, Mama Albertina Sisulu (Ngocobo Municipality Start), Nelson Mandela (KSD Local Municipality), Thabo and Govan Mbeki (Mbashe Local Municipality Finish).  The experience of seeing and touching some of the landmarks of the route reduced some of the athletes to tears.



Following the passing of his father (Chief Mphakanyiswa Mandela), Madiba was 12 years old when his mother Nosekeni took him to Mqhekezweni Great Place (a landmark that lies at 50km mark of the 103km route).  This is where he says having the opportunity to see regent King Jongintaba Dalindyebo (who was his guardian) in action in the tribal courts of the great place taught him valuable lessons on justice and fairness, attributes he were to use in his fight for inequality.

The home of Mqhekezweni Great Place is now a National Heritage Site because this is where King Sabata Dalindyebo was born, a home where Nelson Mandela was brought up, the room where King Sabata Dalindyebo was born, and the rondavel where Nelson Mandela lived for 11 years are still preserved in their original state.

His love for his rural people of Qunu, a village where he first lived with 

his mother Nosekeni at the age of 2 years was evident because this is the same village he chose to be laid to rest next to his parents, some of his children and his own people.


The most gruelling and mind testing gravel route is designed in such a way that no matter where you start, 103km or even the 7km, cycling or running, you have to tap into your inner Madiba in order to finish the challenge.


- Joanie Neemchandar



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The son of Chief Zwelihle Sangoni, grandson of Chief Mthawelanga Sangoni (a senior to his kinsman Nelson Mandela at Clarkebury SSS). The 4x Comrades Marathon finisher, 1x Icon's Journey 103km finisher, Chairman of Health is Wealth Athletics Club and abuThemu Prince believes that this endurance event will be a catalyst for rural socio-economic development as it cuts across over 150 villages in three District Municipalities.  The visionary sees this heritage, tourism event being a contender for one of the best ultra events in South Africa in a few years time.


CSI Director

The Senior Traditional Leader of Baziya Traditional Council and a Madiba.  Nkosi Minenkulu was positively impacted when Dalibhunga Nelson Mandela acquired assistance from McDonald's SA (Pty) Ltd to construct a school in Mputi Village within his Juristriction of Traditional Leadership during the time of his Grandfather as the Chief.  The school's name is Gobinamba Senior Secondary School and is adjacent to the Icon's Marathon route on the R61.

He realised the positive social impact the race can have on the abaThembu Nation, the nation Nelson Mandela was born into.

Nkosi Minenkulu is the Acting Kings' kinsman and confident is also a member of the House of Traditional Leaders Eastern Cape.

Recently taken up mountain biking, Nkosi Joyi is gearing to participate in the next Icon's Journey 103km MTB event.


Race Director - Running

Vuyo Sigonya hails from Emqhekezweni, the village Madiba called home while under the care of regent King Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. Vuyo is an events and endorsements specialist, having been in the events industry for 11 years.  Vuyo has a number of noteworthy events under his belt, namely, South African Traditional Music Awards, South African Music Awards, City of Johannesburg annual New Years Bash, Qunu Arts Festival.  Vuyo has been part of the Icon's Journey team since its concept phase on the centenary celebrations of Madiba in 2018.


Race Director - Cycling

Having partaken in a considerable number of endurance events which include amongst others, The Icon's Journey Race (Running and Cycling), Maludi Double 90, Coronation Double Century, Bochum Cycle Tour (480km, Limpopo - Gauteng), and finishing 3x Comrades Marathons, Siviwe is all about finishing with a smile.  He is a member of Health is Wealth Athletics Club and also rides for Gauteng based Vukani Cycle Club.  Having been involved in endurance sport for a number of years, Siviwe has great appreciation of the amount of networking which these sports bring, which bodes well for an Investment Professional.  Siviwe is of the view that The Icon's Journey is yet another opportunity to put the Eastern Cape on the map.


Public Relations

Zanele Mdodana is a Port Elizabeth born sport fanatic.  A member of Health is Wealth Athletics Club since 2018. Former Spar Proteas Netball Captain and player with 89 caps under her belt for South Africa.  Triathlete with 2x 70.3 Half Ironman, 1x Two Ocean Ultra Marathon, 3x Cape Argus Cycle Tours.  Current Head Coach of the University of Stellenbosch Netball Team.  Supersport Netball Analyst.  Zanele's motto is Never ever give up.


Director Logistics

Dr. Nandipa Mafongosi was born in Qweqwe village, Mthatha.  A pediatrician by profession, also an endurance athlete.  Quite a late bloomer in the sporting scene who could neither swim nor ride a bike.  She is now a multiple ironman finisher, does many cycle tours around the country and is an ultra marathon runner with four comrades, five Two Ocean Marathons to mention a few.  Having recently taken up mountain biking, she became the female winner of The Icon's Journey MTB 35km race in 2019.  Exploring outdoors is her passion, be it trail running, mountain biking, triathlon, road cycling or road running.  Her moto is "life begins outside of our comfort zones."  Her favourite quote is "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough."



Adv. Viwe Nqabeni is from Mdlankomo, a location in Libode town outside of Mthatha.

She is an advocate of the High Court of South Africa and a member of the Mthatha Society of Advocates.

Viwe is the Secretary of Health is Wealth Athletics Club and a passionate park runner.



 Senior Physiotherapist at Kphysios


Bachelor of Physiotherapy University of Pretoria,

Final year Masters Student University of Pretoria 

Travelling Physio with SASCOC to many international championships including Paralympics, Commonwealth games, last event African Games Rabat Morocco,  Hockey World Cup in India with South Africa National team. 

Former Blue Bulls Rugby Team Physio


My team did services during the launch of The Icon’s Marathon in 2018 under the theme “100km by 100 Runners for Mandela 100 Years”.


Currently dealing with Running related injuries and general sports injuries management in my practice in Pretoria.

Facebook: Kphysios

Instagram: Kphysios



A medical doctor by profession and an accredited long distance running, cycling and nutritional coach.

I am an Ultramarathon runner myself who had the pleasure of running Comrades Marathon, Washie 100miler and the 2018 launch of The Icon's Journey Marathon route under the theme "100km by 100 runners for Mandela 100 years".


I'm also the Founder and Chairperson of Addicted to Life  running club.


For all your training please follow these pages:


Instagram : @thabo_yourfitnesscoach

Facebook : @thabo_yourfitnesscoach



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