THE RUNNERS REACTIONS
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.
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MANDELA
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.