Two Wits staff members will be participating in the 15th annual Cape Town Cycle Tour that will be taking place over the weekend to raise awareness and money for the HI HOPES, the university’s Centre for Deaf Studies’ community outreach programme.
The cycling staff members are Dr Alex Schoeman from the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies and Dr Johan Swanepoel from Wits Plus. The tour usually takes place in the second or third week of March but has been brought forward this year.
According to HI HOPES’ Eunice Sediti, the organisation offers family-centered, home-based support and information to ensure that infants or young children with hearing loss can get holistic development.
“Our objective is simple: to give deaf and hard of hearing babies and children every opportunity to develop normally and enjoy the same opportunities as their hearing peers,” Sediti said.
“The programme, led by Prof Claudine Storbeck, a specialist in deaf education, wants to ensure that hearing loss is identified early—by the age of three months—so that appropriate intervention and support can be put in place by the age of six months,” Sediti explained.
The tour goes through most of the Cape-hence its name-with it starting off in the Cape Town city centre, going through Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek. It also goes through Simon’s Town, past the Cape Point Nature reserve and ends in Greenpoint. Cyclists are expected to finish the tour in seven hours of their group’s starting time. Schoeman and Swanepoel are among the 35 000 cyclists expected to participate in the tour on Sunday morning.
Schoeman said she will be cycling for HI HOPES to raise money and awareness about the cause. “I think it’s an important charity and I acknowledge the work they do for deaf and hard of hearing children. I am hoping to raise money and awareness for the charity because most of us are quite ignorant when it comes to certain causes,” Schoeman said.
Sediti encouraged the members of the Wits community to get behind the team during the tour on Sunday. “We would like to invite the Wits community to tweet #teamhihopes on Sunday during the race,” she said.
The team will also be having high tea with the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, on Saturday ahead of the tour.