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How African diaspora is using cycling tourism for noble cause

How African diaspora is using cycling tourism for noble cause

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Over the weekend, a group 24 members of African diaspora concluded an eight-day tour in Rwanda during which they explore the beauty of the country in various parts.

Grouped in what they called Black Unity Ride (BURB), the amateur cyclists, who live mostly in different parts of Europe, Ghana and the Middle East, rode their bikes to different destinations of the country not only for tourism purposes. They also use the opportunity to reconnect with Africa by also supporting various cycling initiatives.

“We are trying to connect the African diaspora with Africa. We started this in Ghana last year, now we are in Rwanda. Our next destination? It’s a secret[laughs],” said Ajasa-Oluwa, a lead member of the group.

 

The cyclists donated support worth £10,000 (over Rwf16 million) to former street children Twin Lakes Cycling Academy in addition to cycling equipment-courtesy
The cyclists donated support worth £10,000 (over Rwf16 million) to former street children Twin Lakes Cycling Academy in addition to cycling equipment-courtesy

The tour took off May 4 as the cyclists rode their bike to various destinations of each of the country’s four provinces either through road race or mountain bike depending on the stage altitude. Their first destination was in Bugesera District where they raced over 80km journey from Kigali to Nyamata and back. They used the opportunity to honoring the victims of the Tutsi Genocide against the Tutsi laid to rest at Nyamata Genocide Memorial.

They later rode to Rukomo (Gicumbi), Rwamagana, Muhanga, Rubavu where they explored the shores of Lake Kivu among other features before concluding their visit in Musanze which currently hosts the Africa Rising Cycling Center (ARRC).

 

Black Unity Ride cyclists pose for a photo at the Africa Rising Cycling Center in Musanze-courtesy photos
Black Unity Ride cyclists pose for a photo at the Africa Rising Cycling Center in Musanze-courtesy photos

During their final tour, the cyclists toured Kinigi at Mountain Bike before then met the children of Twin Lakes Cycling Academy, which consists of former street children living in the neighborhoods around Burera and Ruhondo Lakes. The two are known as Twin Lakes.

The group’s mission normally goes beyond cycling, they also activities that can have a socio-economic impact on people’s lives.

And during their final tour in Rwanda on May 11, the cyclists donated £10,000 (Rwf16 million) to the children at Twin Lakes Cycling Academy in addition to cycling equipment to help them in their everyday lives.

“We are thankful for this support which we hope will help us improve our children’s lives. With the support, we are going to improve children’s education by giving them enough materials and better coaching backup to ensure that children study well because, beyond cycling, they can venture into other careers,” said Florent Nsengumuremyi, a former street child and founder of Twin Lakes Cycling Academy.

 

The New Times

Nsengumuremyi founded Twin Lakes Cycling Academy with an objective to bring street children back to school and give them hope for a better future.

“As a former street child, I founded this academy because I just wanted to give back to the community,” he said.

“A bike changed my life. I dropped out of school because I was staying far from school and, when I was asked what I needed to go back to school, I asked for a bike that would help me for transport. My life changed later on and I wish to do the same for former street children,” he added.