UCT Old Boys trek to South Pole


 

Iain Buchan, Nzuzo Mnikathi and Dr. Pete Burning
After 40 years of dreaming and scheming, Iain Buchan and Dr Pete Berning, two Ikey’s rugby Old Boys who made their mark in the early 1970’s, are fulfilling a lifelong ambition to trek to the South Pole. In January next year, they will be part of a six-man team of South African adventurers who will be walking 111km across Antarctica in The Unlimited Child South Pole Expedition.

The Expedition has been named for The Unlimited Child and the team is using it to raise awareness for the project and the importance of educational toys.

Chairman of The Unlimited and founder of The Unlimited Child, Iain explains: “Unless children aged 0 to 6 years old are stimulated through educational toys, their potential in life will be severely stunted, forever. For example, if a child is born with a potential of 10, but has no stimulation, then that child will only ever reach a potential of 2. Not even the best teachers in the world will be able to improve that child’s potential much beyond 3. In South Africa, over 6 million children don’t have access to educational toys. As adults, they will be untrainable. They will never learn a skill. They will never find a job. They will not contribute to South Africa’s future.”

By providing educational toys and caregiver training, The Unlimited Child enables underprivileged crèches to give children the stimulation they need to achieve their full potential in life.

“Through the Expedition, we want to get people talking about educational toys and how they stimulate early childhood development. We want to inspire them to take action as we are convinced that if we get the crèches right, we will get the country right,” he comments.

To help raise awareness for The Unlimited Child and the importance of educational toys, the Expedition team includes 19-year-old Nzuzo Mnikathi. Sponsored by The Unlimited, Nzuzo will be the youngest black person to ever walk to the South Pole.  

“Nzuzo has the drive, energy and ambition to be the type of young hero South Africa needs. Here is a young man who has had a tough life, but is changing his future and has taken up our challenge to be an ambassador for The Unlimited Child,” says Iain.

While this will be Iain’s first foray into the frozen wilderness, Pete, a medical doctor practicing in Plettenburg Bay is already a noted “Ikey Iceman”. Together with Dugald MacDonald and Ted Adams, Pete walked nearly 800km to the Magnetic North Pole in the 2005 Polar Race, becoming the first South Africans to complete the journey.

But the Arctic is considered a walk in the park compared to Antarctica. Cold, dry and desolate, Antarctica is the harshest place on our planet. Iain says the trek should take around 12 days if they have good weather conditions. Each day they will be walking for eight to ten hours in temperatures that range between -30°C and -60°C pulling a sledge that weighs up to 40kg. A tough call for two men who have a combined age that exceeds 120!

You can follow Iain and Pete on The Unlimited Child South Pole Expedition and help the team raise funds for The Unlimited Child by visiting www.theunlimitedchild.co.za

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