KZN Provincial Government and uMgungundlovu District Municipality have welcomed Absa Bank’s “win-win” decision to become a strategic partner for the Mandela Day Marathon until 2020. Absa today announced a R6-million financial injection to this iconic race over the next three years further solidify the marathon’s reputation as an annual celebration of the legacy of former President Nelson Mandela.
The Mandela Day Marathon has since its inception in 2012 become one of the fastest growing sporting events in Africa, attracting a loyal international following from both athletes and observers. The main race runs from the Manaye Hall in Edendale where Nelson Mandela made his last public speech before his arrest in 1962 and the Capture Site near Howick where he was arrested by the apartheid police on 5 August of the same year.
At the signing of the sponsorship agreement with the KZN Provincial Government, Steve Seaka, Absa Head of Public Sector Banking, said: “We are excited to be part of this Mandela Day Marathon because it fits in very well with our Shared Growth Strategy as a bank to make a meaningful contribution in the communities where we do our business. As a business we can only be successful if we connect positively and create value within the society in which we operate.”
In her remarks, KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube-Ncube has urged all prospective participants in the 2017 race to register before the closing date of 31 July. “This year’s theme for the marathon is #Run for unity and this reflects the race’s celebration of the ideals of a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa that was envisaged by Madiba and that has since come to symbolise the Mandela Day Marathon,” said Dube-Ncube.
Today’s signing ceremony was also attended by Mayor of the uMgungundlovu District Municipality which hosts the annual event – Councillor TE Maphumulo. The Mayor welcomed Absa’s contribution while emphasising the marathon’s positive impact on the local economy of her district. “Every year the Mandela Day Marathon draws thousands of athletes and observers to our district, all of whom contribute to the growth of our tourism sector in unprecedented ways,” said Maphumulo.
Absa has also pledged to adopt a community development project in the uMgungundlovu District area to demonstrate its commitment to imparting a lasting legacy as part of its partnership with the marathon. In addition to the direct financial contribution to the marathon, Absa will also be promoting participation in the marathon among its clients through advertising via their ATMs and branches.
The marathon consists of events such as Road Running, Mountain Biking, Trail Running and a Triathlon. The actual marathon run has since its inception in 2012 grown into one of Africa’s toughest races for runners from across the globe. The marathon is recognised by the Nelson Mandela Foundation through a formal strategic partnership, with an endorsement by the KwaZulu-Natal Athletics Federation and it is also registered with the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races.