Volkswagen and Barons join the Unogwaja journey

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We are proud and excited to announce that we have teamed up with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Barons Volkswagen, a Division of Barloworld Group, who will be providing support vehicles for this year’s Unogwaja Challenge.

The Challenge, now entering its fifth year, will set out on 21st May at 04h30 from theTsogo Sun Southern Sun Waterfront hotel in Cape Town. Eleven cyclists, brought together from all over South Africa and the world, will cycle to Pietermaritzburg over the ten days preceding the Comrades Marathon, and then run the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon from Durban the very next day, 31st May.

If you’re wondering where the inspiration to cycle over 1700km and then run the iconic 90km ultramarathon originated, it is a tribute to Phil Masterton-Smith, nicknamed ‘Unogwaja’ or ‘Hare’ in Zulu. Phil, the youngest ever Comrades winner, completed this feat in 1933 when he could not afford the train fare to get to the start of the Comrades.

This demonstration of one man’s determination and commitment has inspired a movement that seeks to nourish hope and facilitate empowerment in South Africa: The Unogwaja Challenge.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Barons Volkswagen Group based in the Western Cape, Gauteng,  and KwaZulu-Natal will provide six vehicles for the 2015 journey, four Amarok Double Cabs, a Transporter Crew Bus and Transporter Panel Van.



John McInroy, founding member of Unogwaja, says of this partnership: “This is massive for our journey and could not have come at a better time. Not only do we have six top-class vehicles which will help us significantly on the road, but we have formed a meaningful partnership with one of the most forward-thinking brands in our country who believe and support  our vision.  I could not be more excited. The greatest way we can show our gratitude to Volkswagen and Barons is through progressing the impact of our mission: to be the agents of hope and meaningful change in our beautiful country.”

One of the main aims of the Challenge is to raise funds for chosen charities. Last year the Unogwaja Challenge raised over R1.2 Million and this year has set the target at an ambitious R2 Million. Learn more at

Jaco Steenekamp, General Manager: Sales and Marketing of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles said, “The responsibility for positive change lies with each and every one of us and it can only be realized through determined action any way we can. Volkswagen has always been about People, and our Commercial Vehicles specifically are always up for a tough challenge so partnership with the Unogwaja Challenge is a perfect fit.”

Brett Rowlands, Franchise Executive at Barloworld Motor Retail responsible for Barons in the Western Cape, mirrors these sentiments: “Barons  prides itself on being ‘The Volkswagen People’ so this remarkable story resonates with our company values. We are looking forward to supporting John and his team during this inspirational journey and to enable them to focus their energies on their important social mission.”

As an initiative that spans the globe, Unogwaja is excited to have such great Global and South African brands as Volkswagen, Barloworld and Barons stand up and get behind it.


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For further info, including interviews with John McInroy, Jaco Steenekamp and Brett Rowlands please contact Jean

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