JOURNALISM GRADUATE’S SOUTH KOREAN ADVENTURE
The personification of “Womandla” was brought to life last week when a WSU graduate who teaches English in South Korea cycled approximately 388kms in 5 days in what would turn out to be a most unforgettable adventure in her newly-adopted country.
Born in Ntabankulu, Nwabisa Ngumbela, who, in 2016, graduated with a BTech degree from the university’s journalism department in East London, and two years later settled in South Korea’s city of Jeonju (194km south of the capital Seoul), travelled day and night across seven provinces from Seoul to Mungyeong in a quest to conquer the Four Rivers Path, a popular cycling route.
“We had a week-long vacation from work so I decided to take on this adventure because I’d promised myself to do this. I started planning a month in advance – studying the maps, interrogating worst case scenarios, learning how to change bicycle wheels, and buying a first aid kit and familiarizing myself with its contents,” said Ngumbela.
The “glorified babysitter”, as she refers to herself in reference to her teaching gig at a preschool, said instead of lighting up her social media pages just for “likes” and “reactions” at the end of the adventure, she would fulfil her goal whilst also contributing towards a noble cause by cycling for charity.
In that spirit, she penned numerous letters to different charity organisations in South Africa in an effort to solicit participation.
“After numerous let downs and non-committals from various organisations, I finally got a call from Ikamva Youth who expressed great interest in the initiative. I then told them to set up an account, and thus far, we’ve raised about $930,” said Ngumbela.
Ikamva Youth, which has established itself as one of the leading NGOs when it comes to youth development and empowerment, enables disadvantaged youth to pull themselves out of poverty and into tertiary education and/or employment.
According to its website, the organisation, which has grown from one branch to more than 15, supporting over 5,000 learners per year, provides a safe space for learners to be after class ends, where they receive help with their homework and a host of other services and support to ensure they succeed.
In total, Ngumbela says she spent just over R5000 in purchasing all the necessary equipment, including a first aid kit; peed meter; bicycle rack; bicycle stand; a tent; a bag and a gel seat.
“Though I didn’t finish the whole trail, I will definitely come back two weeks from now to finish it. In reality, this is all part of a grander plan to one day circumnavigate the whole of Africa. This is part of my training towards my vision 2021 to conquer Africa,” she said.