Youth Empowerment Project
YEP Background | YEP Clan ! Weblink
In 2007, Teach2Fish, a JDI group focusing on community development, started hiking on a monthly basis with a group of kids from Khayelitsha, under the mentorship of Sizwe Matoti, as part of his Youth Empowerment Project (YEP Clan). The primary aim was to be able to provide the opportunity for the youths to experience the beauty of nature, and visit places in Cape Town that none of them had ever been, such as Table Mountain.
Given the success of the hikes, which still continue two years later under the Greening Young Minds Program, it became clear that there was a huge need and desire for a constructive pastime for these guys to put their energy into after school. In the absence of this, the temptations of the gang and drug culture that dominate the lives of youths on the Cape Flats become extremely hard to avoid.
And so was borne the idea of starting a cycle club, an organized outlet that could provide the opportunity for team work, fitness, travel, independence, and fun, in addition to taking responsibility for their bicycles the club itself.
YEP Clan Cycling Club - Humble Beginnings
After organizing affordable bikes through BEN (Bicycling Empowerment Network), August 2008 saw bicycles delivered to EXTREMELY excited kids. It was all we could do to make them sit through the safety briefing before they were on their bikes and racing around the track at Mandela Park stadium
This was the first time any of them had owned their own bikes, and suddenly they had the opportunity to expand their horizons, and explore places they have never been before. We did a rides to the neighboring townships one of was Mfuleni where they helped build houses with Habitat for Humanity one Saturday morning. And the next weekend they all cycled to the nearby beach. The idea was becoming a reality.
The Argus Dream
It was not long after the guys had been riding around that they had the idea of entering The Argus, and they unanimously agreed that it was something they were all keen to aim for, even though none of them had ever ridden more than a few kilometers before! PPA membership was secured for 23 guys giving each of them access to Argus entries specially allocated for development riders.
Led and inspired by YEP Clan founder Sizwe Matoti, the guys started their training, and slowly built up their fitness and mileage, training almost every day. On their biggest training day before the Argus, they managed to do 60km, which involved riding from Mandela Park to Stellenbosch, doing a 22km race, and then riding home – a serious commitment! But still a long way short of the 109km required on Argus Day.
One of the main challenges in preparing for the race was maintaining the bikes and keeping them in roadworthy condition, since they were simply not of good enough quality. And so additional funding was sourced to provide them with 11 old style 10-speed racers to train and ride the Argus on.
The Argus – Build-up & Race Day
The build up to The Argus was extremely exciting as Barloworld came on board to sponsor kit for the guys riding the Argus. In a very exciting pre-race event, Phil Ligget, the Barloworld team including Robbie Hunter and Miss South Africa presented each guy with their very first item of cycling clothing!
The 2009 Argus has been called the Tour of Storms, and there were some very nervous faces on the start line in the YEP Clan team. However, their training paid off, and 14 of the 15 guys completed their first ever Argus cycle tour in high winds and extreme weather conditions. Barely four months after they started training. This was a truly remarkable achievement.
The Future – Request for Support
After the success of their first big challenge, the YEP Clan kids are fully committed to the future of the YEP Clan Cycling Club, and can’t wait for the next racing season to start. A number of kids in the area have also contacted the club to see if they can join, so there is huge potential for growth, but limited or not enough resources to accommodate them.
If you would like to contribute to the YEP Clan Cycling Club, please contact us if you are able to donate BICYCLES and/or ANYTHING cycling related. This will be an incredible boost to the YEP Clan Cycling Club.
Here is a list of highly valued items:
Ø Bicycles: any shape/size in good working order, with decent gearing
Ø Bicycle spares: tubes, tyres, pedals, chains, etc.
Ø Bicycle tools: allen key set, spanners, tyre levers, puncture kits, etc.
Ø Cycling clothing: cycling shorts, shirts, shoes, etc.
Any assistance that can be provided will be enormously appreciated!!
Yours in development and empowerment
The YEP Clan team
Sizwe Matoti (YEP Clan Founder)
Ph: +27 (0)76 394 9006