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News > Giving Back > Unogwaja Challenge: developing education in South Africa

Unogwaja Challenge: developing education in South Africa

Colin Chaplin (1992O) has been selected to take part in the The Community Chest Unogwaja Challenge. The challenge was founded by fellow OD John McInroy (1999S).
20 Jan 2020
Giving Back

Colin Chaplin (1992O) has been selected to be part of the Community Chest Unogwaja team for 2020. The team is made up of participants selected from many different countries. The Unogwaja Challenge is a 2-sport endeavour which involves cycling from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg and then running the Comrades Marathon. There is a fascinating history behind the Unogwaja Challenge and the involvement of ODs in its creation.

 Colin Chaplin (1992O) has been selected to take part in this year's event, with the goal of developing education for the less privileged.


The Unogwaja Challenge, is an incredible journey that follows in the footsteps of the youngest winner of the Comrades Marathon, Phil Masterton-Smith. Affectionately known as ‘Unogwaja’ or Hare in Zulu, Masterton-Smith didn’t have the train fare to get to the start of the Comrades Marathon back in 1933 and so he did the unbelievable. He cycled from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg, approximately 1700km and then ran the Comrades Marathon and amazingly finished the race in 10th that year. He was tragically killed in action on June 5, 1942 by a mortar bomb, defending the Gazala line during the siege of Tobruk in World War II.

Some 78 years later, in 2011, OD John McInroy (1999S) came across this amazing story with the help of WP Van Zyl (1997W) and through some of his friends, they followed in the footsteps of Phil Masterton-Smith. They succeeded in cycling 1700 km’s in ten days from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg, followed by running the Comrades Marathon on day 11. Since 2011 the Unogwaja Challenge has subsequently become an annual journey that brings together a small group of people chosen from all over the world for this special mission of hope across South Africa.

2020 will see the 10th anniversary of the Challenge. This year 23 people from around the world have been chosen to complete this epic journey. In so doing they will also be raising funds for educational and community development projects in an attempt to address the many challenges young children face in Langa. It's so easy to get so immersed in our own personal problems that we forget that our problems are often inconsequential compared to the challenges and hardships that others face. For many young South Africans the English language is completely foreign to them.

Yet, English is the language that they are expected to understand and be taught in when they enter school. It is hard to comprehend just how difficult this obstacle must be for these young children to overcome. Our fundraising helps provide these young children with a basic understanding of the English language before the enter school at the age of six.

The projects aim to impact not only the children’s lives, but the greater community of Langa. the goal is that these projects will become a blueprint to roll out in other communities throughout the country. The dream of every participant in Unogwaja is to make this country a better place and to make a difference in these young childrens lives.

To support Colin and his fundraising endeavours please visit the following link:



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