Meet Buhle Madlala who is making cycling affordable in townships

Creating jobs was a key focus for the National Cycling Academy Forum (NCAF), which aimed to support the interests of the cycling sport, which can be expensive. Buhle Madlala, co-founder of the organization for Rural and Township cycling enthusiasts, wanted to transform the cycling industry by focusing not only on high-performance riders, but also on developing talent from grassroots to elite levels.

The NCAF sought to expand business opportunities and build entities within their own communities. Madlala explained that currently, there are no bicycle retailers in black communities, forcing underprivileged individuals to travel to town for repairs and supplies. The NCAF aimed to train mechanics and establish local cycling after-service businesses to address this issue. Madlala emphasized the importance of creating business enterprises within their own spaces and communities to generate jobs.

The NCAF has been engaging with the Department of Transport (DoT) regarding non-motorized transportation. They have requested bicycles from the DoT to integrate cycling into learners’ daily routines. Madlala stressed that it is crucial for the community to take ownership of these initiatives, as imposed solutions are often not well-received.

Furthermore, the NCAF highlighted the potential for tourism through cycling clubs in Gauteng. They proposed bike tours that would allow tourists to explore various township attractions, such as the Nelson Mandela Museum and Hector Pieterson Square in Soweto. The NCAF urged the DoT to consider supporting and expanding these programs to other townships.

The NCAF believed that providing bicycles could help change the culture around their use. They also worked with school children to reduce their reliance on overcrowded scholar transport, which often led to fatal accidents. Madlala emphasized the need to collaborate with courier companies to reach rural areas and create business opportunities for aspiring riders. This would involve establishing courier hubs in rural areas and utilizing local riders to deliver products to remote clients.

Overall, the NCAF advocated for a holistic approach to support the cycling industry and create job opportunities. They called for the removal of barriers and bureaucracy to allow their community-driven businesses to thrive.

The National Cycling Academy Forum (NCAP) emphasized that their goal of supporting black riders to represent the country should be viewed in a holistic context. They believe it is a solution to multiple issues that hinder their ability to be self-sufficient and face barriers to entry. Without employment, they struggle to afford quality bikes or competition entry fees, perpetuating a cycle of dependence.

NCAP expressed frustration that while many individuals grew up with bicycles, there is a sense of limited growth opportunities in the cycling industry. Unlike other sports with clear pathways from local leagues to professional levels, there is a lack of clarity in the cycling world. While there may be ways to reach professional status, the path is particularly challenging for black individuals.