‘I Ran for My Life’ author now running 600km to save hungry children

Gail and Kabelo Mabalane. The actress joined her husband on day 7 of an epic 600km run he is undertaking with his running partner Peteni  Kuzwayo to raise funds for hungry children (PHOTO: iol.com)

In the 1990s when one heard of the name Kabelo Mabalane one thought of the kwaito artist who belonged to the much-celebrated, award-winning music group TKZee.

Once a darling of the music industry Kabelo unfortunately hit rock bottom as a drug addict. Those were dark days when he struggled with drug abuse. His turning point came when he went to a rehabilitation centre and gave his heart to the Lord. He recovered and made a clean start, now he is a beloved pastor at Rhema Church, a devoted husband to actress Gail Mabalane and a doting father to their two children. He credits his recovery to running. He says running saved his life.

As a recovering drug addict he needed an outlet where instead of using drugs he would put his energy and he found that with running. In his book titled I ran for My Life he chronicles the challenges he had to face while growing up, his involvement in the music industry and his struggles with drugs. This 10-time SAMA award-winner, TV presenter, athlete and entrepreneur now is an endurance runner who has run 12 Comrades Marathons. 

On September 7 he embarked on his most gruelling running challenge yet, when he and his running partner, Peteni Kuzwayo, set out to run from Johannesburg to Durban covering 600km over 17 days to raise funds for child hunger.

Previously overweight Peteni has conquered eight Comrades ultra-marathon races. He has coached thousands of people and witnessed their life transformations. Running has transformed the lives of these two athletes and they have embarked on a campaign called Hope with Every Step to transform the lives of vulnerable children. 

Hope with every Step, an Old Mutual-enabled initiative has re-imagined running and is embarking on a campaign to use running as a way to support existing hunger and malnutrition relief efforts and to highlight the plight of 14 million South Africans in the age group of 1 to 7 years who are going hungry every single night. The initiative aims to raise a minimum of  R6-million to feed 10 000 children for at least a full year. That’s R50 per month.

Kabelo Mabelane and Peteni Kuzwayo on the road on their 600km marathon for hungry children. They are running for 17 days at an average of about 35km per day.

Joint Aid Management (JAM), a humanitarian relief and development organisation operating sustainable aid programs for the most vulnerable across Africa is the nominated beneficiary of the campaign. With 30 years experience, JAM is currently feeding 120 000 pre-school children a day while the actual need is into the millions. With as many as three out of four preschool children facing hunger and malnutrition daily, the resulting impairment to the physical and mental development of young school-going South Africans will create an even bigger problem for society in future.

Kabelo Mabalane says, “As a parent I know too well the importance of children hitting their developmental milestones that is due to good nutrition.” 

On day 7  of the 17-day run, Kabelo’s wife Gail Mabalane joined the duo and ran for 16km. She managed to raise R160 000, she shared her experience on Instagram saying, “DAY 7. 245KMS DONE, 355KMS TO GO!!! What an incredible day! So far, I managed to raise R160K for my leg of the run. I ran 16KMS!!! R10K per kilometer raised. I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who has donated. TOGETHER, we can go far!!!

Kabelo and Peteni are keeping the nation updated sharing daily on their social media platforms about their run and how many kilometres are covered and how many they still need to run to reach their target. They share their struggles running through the different provinces with the changing weather conditions. As they put their lives on the line facing incredible odds they are doing their part to alleviate poverty. They are asking that we do our part. Child nutrition is imperative. The athletes are asking South Africans to help them ensure that our children don’t experience stunted growth and that their brains develop properly. 

World-renowned athlete Gerda Steyn joined them on a solidarity run. Gerda is a marathon and ultra-marathon athlete. She set the Comrades Marathon up-run record in 2019 becoming the first woman to finish that race under 6 hours. She ran a solidarity run of 15km in France in support of the initiative.

If you would like to donate to this worthy cause either as individuals, families, churches and corporates please go to www.hopewitheverystep.com

If you wish to make a donation through direct deposit, please use the following information:

Bank: ABSA; Account Name: Hope With Every Step; Account Type: Cheque; Account Number: 4099077292; Branch Code: 632005; Swift Code: ABSAZAJJ; Reference: Name & Surname. Please send the email to info@movethenation.netinfo@movethenation.net

“As a country, as a community, we can’t be proud to say we are going to feed 10 000 children a year. There are way more kids who go to bed hungry.” – @kabelomabalane

“We should always be involved in causes that are much bigger than ourselves. Because life is MORE than just ourselves.” — Kabelo Mabalane 

Hope with Every Step is Running Reimagined for a greater purpose.

After one of their gruelling runs Peteni said, “Ngegama likaJesu siyafika siyovinjwa lulwandle” (In the name of Jesus we will arrive. Only the sea will stop us.” May we join them in this cause as we together help fight child hunger.

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