Only now am I able to deliver the Last Post on The Heart and Sole Tour saga.
And it is delivered in pretty much the same key as Peter Sellers used to such diabolical effect in the opening scenes of The Party.
I hope that you, dear Hatpeople, will find this as funny. But I doubt it.
Because it’s not. It has taken me damn nigh a week to even begin to drain the porridge from my stultified brain and start to order some thought process about the rather epic two-month unicycle ride from Durban to Cape Town, which ended in dramatic fashion at The V&A Waterfront last Friday.
In the case of our phenomenally gutsy unicyclist, Geoff Brink, it was utter physical exhaustion which enveloped him once the adrenaline began to ebb from his body at the end of his record 2,000km one-wheeled feat. But it was the mental pressure required of us to focus on finishing our cavalier mission, amid some distracting sideshows, which led to us spectacularly falling out at the finish line.
Kim, Geoff's fiancee, joins the Heart and Sole Tour at Peregrine's Farm Stall near Grabouw on the penultimate day of the crazy ride
And only now can this story be told.
Please know that we were always mindful of the fact that the Heart and Sole Tour was about raising awareness of the awful devastation that landmines continue to wreak on the lives of innocent civilians around the world. And, of course, it should always have been about that alone. But Geoff Brink and I are only human. And very fallible humans at that. So it was that, early in the tour, when pressure was brought to bear on us from back home, that the ugly spectre of the male ego leapt to the fore. The jostling for position in the Heart & Sole roadside pod of the alpha male instinct began to permeate the high-spirited vibe of our beautiful roadtrip.
Don’t get me wrong. There were bucketfuls of banter, a chuckling stream of laughs and a camaraderie that one comes to expect of two friends combining to achieve something both mad and magnificent. In fact, many of you might question whether the flipside of our tour should be told at all. The Heart & Sole Tour undoubtedly achieved its objective and what purpose is there in hanging out the stinky unwashed laundry for all to sniff at? What goes on tour stays on tour and all that crap.
Geoff "Heartman" Brink negotiates the downhill treachery of Sir Lowry's Pass. A moment of respectfulness, please!
I’ll answer that. I have mulled over this for nearly a week. I am fascinated by the human condition. That is why I chose journalism as a career. I am equally captivated by the human spirit. And this piece of introspection – should that be “retrospection”? – is about wanting to understand how Geoff and I managed to complete our trip despite our differences as much as because of the unity we displayed when it really mattered.
I have talked with people about this since I emerged blinking into the bright Cape Town sunlight from the highly buffered bubble that was our “hard shoulder crawl” across our great country. Some have drawn comparisons with “The Long Way Down”, Ewan McGregor’s and Charlie Boorman’s motorcycle jaunt from Britain through Europe and down to the foot of Africa.
I must confess that I have yet to watch the whole movie. Geoff and I began to watch it as an entertaining aside to our minimal preparation for the Heart and Sole Tour but, dismayed by the showiness, grandstanding and, quite frankly, over-indulgence displayed over what amounted to a pretty easy ride, fell asleep.
I don’t see the similarities. Yes, Geoff’s fiancee, Kim Millar joined us towards the end of our ride, a development that, for me, was both unexpected and temporarily gripped me with trepidation… but, such was my determined hyperfocus on getting our unicyclist safely to the Mother City that her presence in the back-up truck proved to matter not a jot. And I know that Geoff was greatly motivated by his sweetheart to bravely finish what he had started.
Mmmm. "Cape Town, 40km"? Take that!
What caused our “Skirmish at The Clock Tower” was the result of two very tired minds and one exhausted body melting down after 58 days of intense concentration and unbelievable strain. So what happened, you may ask? OK. Fair question. But I’m not saying. I have too much respect for what Geoff achieved and, yes, for what we as a team did for people who deserve a better life than to tarnish in detail the magnificent outcome of the Heart and Sole Tour.
Never mind the bollards which prohibited myself and the back-up truck from following our unicyclist – and our final-day amaonetya.co.za escort of unicyclists Alan van Heerden and Johnny Cronje down to the Clock Tower. After watching Geoff’s back for 58 days and nigh on 2,000km, a row of concrete bollards stopped me from seeing the boys home. Emotions spilled over. There were harsh words. It was unsavoury. It was, after what we had been through, almost inevitable. It happened. It is over. It’s gone. Gone, gone, gone. No regrets. We move on. We have learned lessons.
Johnny (left) and Alan (right) of amaonetya.co.za and OddWheel Unicycles escort Geoff into Cape Town and safely down to the V & A Waterfront. Awesomeness, guys!
Before we set out on December 28, 2009 on a mission which many called impossible, both Geoff and I knew that there would be challenges for which we could not prepare, that lessons would be taught that might make better people of us. And so it proved. And I am massively thankful for this gift. I remain privileged to have had the experience of supporting Geoff Brink on his incredible journey.
Crikey, what a ripper, Nige! You are a total mensch.
All pix (apart from this one): Hatman
* I will be working with Kai von Pannier of The Sole of Africa to draw up a full list of individuals, companies and establishments which should be acknowledged for the part they played in helping The Heart and Sole Tour to achieve its objective.
In the meantime, I would like to thank these people for the enormous help – and inspiration – they gave Geoff and I: John Fogarty, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Kim Millar, Olivia “OJ” Symcox, Rox-ann Govender, Kai and Cindy von Pannier, Mike Kendrick, Toni Rowland, Dilana, Sir Richard Branson, John L. Evans, Alan van Heerden, Johnny Cronje, Sharon Heger Basel, Steve Connor, Jimmy Reynolds, Andre Cronje, Rob Gower, Rich and Sarah McLennan, Neil and Hayley Millar, Kathy Reay, Dennis Theron, Pierre and Elise Brink, Jonny and Jane Roberts, Keith Chapman, Vaughan Raw, Warren Bartram, Donatella Pontesilli, Doc and Maggie Mears, Mama Cordelia, Martin Schroder, Toni Brodelle, Emily Shayler, Paul Chew, Janet Marshall, Marc Forrest, Mike Adams, Mandy Morgan, Fred and Yolandi Roed, Mike Perk, Clayton and Paula Whitaker, Father Matthias, Mama Zondeka, Nic Nel, Marcelle Delew-Kappen, Andreas Kappen, Brett Horner, Julie Davies, Seth Rotherham, Mike Kuttner, Jacqui Daniels, Riaan Manser, Bob Skinstad, Claire Alexander, Dave Duarte, Chris Rawlinson, Mike Saxby, Ken Taytasac, Penny Sandham, Carol-Anne Stephenson, Craig Bettridge, Vicky Nardell, Annette Oberholster, Helen Walne, Brandon McGugan, Martina Gilli, Michelle Solomon, Krista (New York), Neal Collins, Chris Whitfield, Lesley Byram, Marilyn Bernard, Wendy Landau, Dhashen Moodley. If anybody feels left out, it’s because you will be thanked in the full list to appear on both The Sole Of Africa website and this blog.
* One last thing. Both Geoff and I exhausted our savings on The Heart & Sole Tour. He’s a freelance photographer and a very good one at that. We both need to find paid work, he to finance his forthcoming wedding, I to pay the rent for a ramshackle dwelling down near the river. Should you have some paid work to slide our way, that would be completely cool. Ta!
OK. I’m a blogger in a hurry. Why? I’ve had word this morning that Rotary Umhlanga has donated R5,000 towards keeping Heart & Sole Tour unicyclist Geoff Brink and I on the road to Cape Town!
In a word: Phenomenalness. In another word: Reliefness. And so on. The Heartman and I are chuffed beyond belief. We can’t wait to resume battle with the uphills, the potholes, the trucks and the heat in our little “hard shoulder bubble”. One thousand and one hundred kilometres left to Cape Town? “Pfffft. Bring it on!”
Old Heartie is already on a plane back to East London, I’ve cleaned out the back-up truck, repaired our yellow warning light, stocked up on ice for his creaking knees and Mickey Mouse plasters for assorted cuts and grazes to come and I’m packing to collect him at the airport.
So, you’ll be relieved to read, i don’t have time to waffle on here. Just know that we are uber-grateful to Mike Kuttner and Jacqui Daniel of Rotary in Umhlanga for giving us a new lease of life and we are totally amped to finish this wild adventure we started nearly a month ago.
So here’s a hastily freshened-up press release I’ve just sent to staunch Heart & Sole supporter Olivia “OJ” Symcox to be disseminated to her extensive list of media contacts. It’s been quiet. It’s been frustrating. But we’re about to hit the road again in our quest to raise awareness of the awfulness of landmines and we need the oxygen of publicity to again be pumped into The Heart & Sole Tour. Anything you, dear Heartpeople, can do to spread the word will be ecstatically welcomed by old Heartie and I!
And, yes, if you’ve sorted the bond/rent, car repayments and popped a bit into the piggy bank for that holiday in July, please don’t hesitate to send a few notes our way! Bank details are at the end of this post! Here we go… oh, first a pic to break up this vast tract of grey words!
Oh goshness! I suppose I, as the back-up driver, will be seeing a lot more of this over the next month or so!
January 25, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE
THE Heart and Sole Tour, a unicycle ride of 1,700km from Durban to Cape Town, has been rescued by an injection of new funding and will re-commence from a point 90km outside of Queenstown in the Eastern Cape tomorrow (Tues, Jan 26). Geoff Brink, a freelance photographer based in Umdloti on the north coast of Kwazulu-Natal, has unicycled nearly 600km in intense heat, huge thunderstorms and through treacherous terrain in his courageous effort to raise awareness of the scourge of landmines.
Rotary Umhlanga, led by Jacqui Daniel and Mike Kuttner, has donated R5,000 towards the fuel, food and airtime expenses of The Heart and Sole Tour, enabling Geoff “Heartman” Brink and Howard “Hatman” Donaldson, the tour’s back-up driver and blogger, to continue on their challenging but wonderful coast-to-coast adventure through South Africa.
However, the tour requires further funds to achieve its objective of reaching Cape Town and Kai von Pannier, managing director of Mineseeker SA, responsible for their anti-landmines campaign in Southern Africa, is calling on other Rotary branches and, indeed, corporates and individuals to try to match the R5,000 donation made by Rotary Umhlanga.
Donors may find bank details for The Heart and Sole Tour on the official tour blog, http://www.fredhatman.co.za. Any donations from the public, no matter how small, will be gratefully welcomed by Brink and Donaldson who are utterly determined to roll into Cape Town in late February having raised as much awareness as possible of the largely ignored destruction still caused by landmines left scattered around the world long after wars have ended.
The Heart & Sole Tour has been organised in support of The Sole of Africa, a campaign by the UK-based Mineseeker Foundation dedicated to the removal of landmines in Africa. The Foundation has offices in South Africa and the US.
The Mineseeker Foundation, recruited Nelson Mandela (now retired), Queen Noor and Sir Richard Branson as founder Patrons with Dame Graca Machel, Lord Richard Attenborough, Brad Pitt and John Paul DeJoria. The Sole of Africa campaign is a Mineseeker initiative to support landmine victims. Rock vocalist Toni Rowland, an ambassador for The Sole of Africa along with Oscar Pistorius and Candice Hillebrand, has been appointed Ambassador for The Heart & Sole Tour and her single Put Your Foot Down adopted as the theme song for the unicycle ride.
Geoff, 37, trained for three months on “AmaOneTyre”, his 36-inch wheel specialised unicycle and started his highly strenuous road trip on Monday, December 28. He is accompanied by media director for The Sole of Africa Howard Donaldson, who is responsible for general logistics as well as filming, photographing and blogging (as “SA-positive” blogger Fred Hatman) about the 1,700km expedition.
Sponsors supporting the Heart & Sole Tour include Odd Wheel Unicycles, Glaceau Vitaminwater, Gower Power nutritional supplements, Rotary International, iStore, AromaSoothz, The Corner Cafe, Grand Axe Music and Umdloti’s Bush Tavern.
Further information about the Heart & Sole Tour can be be found on the official tour blog (a light-hearted one!) at http://fredhatman.co.za/ (media organisations are welcome to use information and photographs from the blog) and on The Sole of Africa’s website at http://www.thesoleofafrica.org.za/
Geoff can be made available for interview and photography and press enquiries should be directed towards Howard Donaldson, using the contact details below.
There. All the info you could possibly want, yes? Right. Here are those bank details…
G. M. Brink
Account: 056 706 804
Branch code: 042 626
Nice. Thank you! Or you can help us by purchasing sponsorship units through the Grand Axe Music website and be in line to win a signed copy of Toni Rowland’s new album “Unfolding” each week. Follow these guidelines…
“Sponsorship for the Heart and Sole Tour. These units will go towards sponsoring fuel costs for the support vehicle and also airtime costs so that they can stay in touch with you! These guys are going through Africa and need to use 3G technology to communicate, as internet cafes do not exist (they tend to be trampled or eaten by the wildiife!). For every sponsorship unit received you will be placed in a weekly draw (Every Sunday) and you can win a personalised CD of Toni Rowland’s album “Unfolding” from Toni herself! There are no carry overs to the following week. The winner will be announced every Monday by email and on the Heart and Sole’s Facebook group. Thanks for your support!”
Coolness. Now. I’d like to thank AromaSoothz, one of our official sponsors, for offering to help with airtime so that I may keep you lot updated on this blog on a daily basis. Thanks, Cindy. You’re helping to keep us on the road!
I write this while ducking to evade the dive-bombing strikes of a highly perturbed swallow guarding its nest on the shady verandah of the Willowdale Lodge near Kokstad.
But this is the coolest spot I can find and, as much as I love and admire birds, I ain’t moving. Meanwhile, Geoff “Heartman” Brink, our intrepid unicyclist, is splayed out on a mattress under a stand of beautiful trees. He ain’t moving either. He’s not even snoring – which is a nice change. I suspect he is too exhausted. Good boy.
He’s just one-wheeled up a murderously steep pass – Brooke’s Neck I think the locals call it (Brooke had some neck!) – in body-sapping heat and we’re waiting for Madam Weather to chill a little before venturing further. But it isn’t all bad. Max of the Willowdale has picked up the tab for lunch (cheese platters and coffee) and also kindly offered us a room free of charge for tomorrow night.
This is how people are. Beautifulnesses wherever we go. I think that they are so gobsmacked that somebody has the gumption to ride on one wheel from Durban to Cape Town for a good cause that they can’t do enough to help. Like Dave and Gill of the lovely Greenacres B&B in Harding. They extended a very long arm of generosity and put us up in a beautiful room.
Heartie and I have been bowled over by peoples' generosity, such as that extended by Gill and Dave of Greenacres B&B in Harding
As did Brian and Naomi – along with manager Paul – of the superbly-appointed Ingeli Forest Lodge between Harding and Kokstad. The Heartman and I overnighted in a “double-decker” wooden chalet – aah, some much-desired private space for each of us! – overlooking a sumptuous valley and Brian waived all costs of lunch, dinner and a couple of beers to boot. Stunningness overload.
I'm always up at 5am... and this is what greeted me at Ingeli Forest Lodge this morning!
After a, erm, hearty breakfast The Heartman limbers up at Ingeli before we take to the road for Kokstad...
... stopping only briefly to snap this little beauty on the way out!
Support from bystanders alongside the road has brought us humungous chuffedness too. Local villagers stare in amazement at this man straining to get up yet another hill on one wheel before breaking out in an assortment of wide grins, clapping and cheering. We get stopped and asked questions and everybody, young and old, is fascinated by our strange road trip. Awareness of the scourge of landmines is reaching places where the far more pressing issue usually is how to put food on the table and find employment of some sort.
Drivers, many of whom I suspect have read about the Heart & Sole Tour in the newspapers or heard about it on the radio, hoot and lean out of windows to give us the thumbs-up. Whenever we’ve stopped on the roadside so that old Heartie may catch his breath, glug down a bottle of sponsored Glaceau Vitaminwater or be boosted by the Enduro sports nutritional mix provided by Gower Power, people will pull over and want to know what on earth is going on!
As did Jeff and Zanele Meth, parents of beautiful sisters Bonita and Bridget, who are from Phalaborwa in the Limpopo Province and were holidaying near Harding. Jeff was very curious about the unicycle and The Heartman never tires of explaining the delicate technique required to ride the monster!
I thought you might enjoy this portrait I did roadside of little Bridget. Now tell me you didn't enjoy that. You can't, can you? No. I thought as much!
Every word of support from the public gives us a huge psychological boost and, in the case of our unicyclist, a massive pick-up to enable him to tackle the next hill. The most common question we get is “Are you insane?” Fair question. We’ve asked ourselves that many times over the past 10 days. Our answer is that the Heart & Sole Tour is the most sane thing either of us have ever done. We think it is instead completely mad to spend two hours of every working day sitting in traffic… and between each of those two hours to stare at the same four walls of an office waiting for 5pm to come along!
So we are hugely privileged to be allowed to indulge ourselves this wild adventure, meeting wonderful people, accepting their kindnesses and, all the while, be raising awareness of an issue about which we both feel so passionately. And, as we trundle so slowly along, we are exposed to the most gorgeous natural beauty of South Africa, our beloved country. How fortunate we all are!
And here's a spot of South Africa's natural splendour... it certainly seemed to captivate The Heartman who found relief from his arduous ride in the scenery! Pix: Hatman
OK. So today’s ride was sheer madness. Steep uphills tackled in searing heat. But it beats being bored in an air-conditioned office, hey? Mmmm. Easy for me to say… I wasn’t the poor soul riding a unicycle in that lot!
* Today’s back-up truck playlist: Donny Hathaway, Gil Scott-Heron, David Bowie, Jethro Tull, Just Jinger, Toni Rowland, Nicola Conte, The Quantic Soul Orchestra, Jazzanova, Mr Scruff, Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse and Alice Russell.
* Pierre Brink, proud dad of The Heartman, is challenging other businessmen or women to boost our dwindling funds by matching his pledge to sponsor The Heart & Sole Tour at a rand per kilometre covered. If we make it to Cape Town – and we will! – that will be a cool R1,700. Anybody up for that? If so, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and give me your name and contact details. You will be indirectly supporting our objective of raising awareness of the devastation caused by landmines. Thank you!
You know that sometimes I like to kick off a blog post with a picture. This is one of those times. Stick around. All will become clear. Possibly.
This is Dilana. This tiny woman has a humungous presence and an even bigger voice. On Saturday night, she spoke out against landmines for the Heart & Sole Tour. We love her.
Geoff “Heartman” Brink and I are being constantly amazed by the generosity of spirit shown for our Heart and Sole unicycle tour by people we don’t even know.
We are reminded time and again that people are intrinsically good. Better than good. People are generally kind, compassionate and full of good lovingness. And when we tell them that The Heartman is about to ride a unicycle 1,700km or more to Cape Town to raise awareness of the evil of landmines, there is very little they won’t do to help the cause.
When we tell them that every 19 minutes, somewhere on our planet, somebody – and it is usually a woman or child – has their life devastated by the explosion of one of the millions of military killing devices left scattered around after wars, they are moved to feel very angry indeed. Angry that it is totally unnecessary that people continue to be maimed or killed by unexploded ordnance that is left to lie treacherously around on our earth. Earth that otherwise could be planted and harvested to feed the mostly poor nations which are especially blighted by the planting of landmines.
People like Annette Oberholster, a friend of The Heartman, who has been folding origami cranes in a desert in Qatar so that we may sell them to raise money for fuel and food for our ride which will take around six or seven weeks. OK, so the paper birdies didn’t arrive in Durban in time for us to take to the Dilana/Toni Rowland gig in Pinetown on Saturday night to exchange for 10 bucks or so with people in the audience.
We went up there anyway. To meet with Toni, the beautiful musician who is the ambassador of the Heart & Sole Tour. And to experience Dilana, who had expressed her wish to support us in any way possible. When we meet the diminutive human dynamo who is Dilana, she cannot do enough to help. During her set of heart-wrenching songs showcasing her mega-kaaaBooom voice, she gets old Heartie up on stage to intro the audience to our adventure and ask the hardcore rockers and bikers there if they would like to part with a little cash to help us out.
They did. Big-time. Beautiful hairy, leather-jacketed, multi-tattooed, Harley-riding people. Who care. Let’s have a look at what unfolded…
Dilana gives The Heartman the big intro on stage, he threw his hat into the audience... and the donations came rolling in!
R970. Nine hundred and seventy ront, people. Do you have any idea how much of total coolness that is? Couple of tanks of petrol for the old back-up truck, my babies. Thank you Dilana, Eric, Toni, Bronwyn, John, Kai and everybody else who was at VMacs in Pinetown on Saturday night. You rocked. And we rolled. And we all, like, well, y’now… yeah, rock ‘n’ rolled. For people who have had limbs blown off their bodies.
OK. I’m going to play you out with a few more pics. Because you’ll dig them. Yes. You will. You’ll see…
Bronwyn Rowland, Toni Rowland and Dilana... nice, hey?
Another kiekie of Immense Voice Woman. Just because I dig it. Do you?
This is Heartman smoking a rare cigar. Somewhere around Pinetown at 2.30am. I bought it for him before the gig for R23. Because I knew it was to be a special night. And it was. That is all. All pix: Hatman
Thank you for coming. I love you, Hatpeople. Buy a T-shirt on the way out. And please find out more about Dilana and her tour with Toni Rowland right here.
* You might have noticed that I didn’t publish an “Umdloti Interview” at the weekend. That’s right. I didn’t. And I won’t until Heartman and I get back from The Heart & Sole Tour sometime in February next year. Because it’s all about the unicycle ride now, OK? We leave in a week’s time and there’s a lot of stuff to sort out before then. Excitingness overload!
I recently reported on this blog that, among the many wonderful people and companies which have stepped forward to support our Heart & Sole unicycle tour, an angel by the name of Annette Oberholster had offered to singlehandedly make 1,000 origami cranes for us to sell for fuel and food money.
“Netty”, as she is known to those lucky enough to be friends of hers, is waiting in a desert in Qatar for her man to finish a contract with a petrochemicals company and is currently blistering her fingers while folding as many of her “paper birdies” as possible for us to sell for a R10 donation at the Dilana/Toni Rowland gig at VMacs in Pinetown on Saturday evening, December 19.
This is pure beautifulness on Netty’s part. And I would now like to present to you a depiction of what her origami cranes look like…
Cranes over Africa... these origami birds will help The Heart & Sole Tour to raise awareness of the totally unnecessary scourge of landmines
I’m loving that. What about you? How are you feeling about Netty’s gesture? Does it move you? Does it make you feel warm and fuzzy down there, in the pit of your tummy? Does it encourage you to want to smile at strangers, both handsome and ugly, svelte and fat? Does it compel you to hum nice ditties while you do the ironing or while hovering over the cheese section at Woolies? That’s fine. I understand. Because it does me. Actually, it does me head in. That somebody could produce an act of such phenomenalness.
But, you see, Netty has witnessed first-hand the destruction caused by landmines. She has seen the killing fields of Vietnam. The lands littered with UXO (Unexploded Ordnance). And it makes her feel bad. Because she is disgusted by the fact that, decades after the warmongers went home to find something else to do, their detritus continues to kill.
Fact: Every 19 minutes, somewhere on our planet, somebody (usually a woman or child) has their life blighted by a landmine. The Sole of Africa, for whom The Heart & Sole Tour is raising awareness, is working to weed out the killer ordnance and giving assistance to victims by way of counselling and provision of prosthetic limbs.
This is why Geoff “Heartman” Brink is to ride 1,700km from Durban to Cape Town on one wheel. And this is why Netty is helping us. You can help us too. email@example.com. We have yet to find a comfortable motorhome to use as a back-up vehicle. Please help us to help those who suffer unnecessarily. And we’ll help you.
Look. I thought that kicking off with a picture of 90s supermodel Helena Christensen wearing only a few watches in my first post on this blog yesterday worked a right treat.
So I’m doing it again…
No, this isn't Helena. And she's not even wearing only watches. This a more beautiful woman. Wearing her heart in the right place. And don't you dig the flowers too? Beautifulnesses.
OK. Let me introduce you to our angel. Annette Oberholster. Netty to her friends. That’s her sitting smiling angelically among those gorgeous flowers above.
So what about her? I’ll tell you what about her. Netty, who gets around our world quite a lot, is currently living in the desert of Qatar while her boyfriend finishes a contract working with a petrochemicals company.
She, being a long-time friend of our Heart & Sole Tour unicyclist Geoff “Heartman” Brink, heard about our little 1,700km jaunt from Durban to Cape Town to raise awareness of the scourge of landmines. And got thinking. About how she could help.
I hope that she won’t mind me doing this but I’m publishing an extract from the e-mail I received from her yesterday:
“hello dear friends,
i have come up with an idea to try and help raise some money for the heart and sole tour, so i am going to run it by you to see if you think it will ‘fly’. i will definitely need your help to pull it off.
in my idleness here in the desert of qatar, i have taught myself how to fold an origami crane. : )
bear with me.
in japanese folklore, if you fold 1000 cranes you get to make a wish. so, i could fold 1000 cranes and my wish would be to enhance the lives of landmine victims … that i would do by selling the cranes and donating the money to the heart and sole tour. the tag line could be this quote: ‘I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.’ - Sadako Sasaki (1943-55).
folding 1000 cranes is a BEEEG job! weeks and weeks and blistered fingers. so, before i begin, i need to know that it is going to work.
the math is simple, sell each crane for R1 each and we make R1000. or better still, sell each crane for R10 each and we make R10 000. but there is a problem, i am going to need your help to sell these guys in south africa.
South African rock musician Toni Rowland has pledged her support for Geoff “Heartman” Brink’s trans-South Africa unicycle odyssey, which has previously been documented here and here.
Toni Rowland: totally behind Heartman's mad unicycle marathon
Our Geoff is hard in training to undertake the approximately 1,400 kilometre stretch on one wheel later this year and was understandably “totally stoked” to hear of Toni’s support for his ride. Heartman is unicycling from Durban to Cape Town to raise awareness of The Sole of Africa, the Mineseeker Foundation’s anti-landmine campaign. He is also hoping, through a competition to be announced soon, to raise sufficient funds to enable him to afford a “pretty awesome wedding” for the woman he so desperately wants to marry.
Toni, who recently released Unfolding, a new album which is receiving huge acclaim in the USA and Britain, is thrilled to be involved with the Heart & Sole Tour. She told fredhatman.co.za: “The Heart and Sole tour is just amazing. Geoff riding a unicycle across South Africa in a way reflects the whole plight of the people that are affected by landmines. A solitary figure on a single wheel is kind of what people who have lost a limb are left with.”
Toni is an active ambassador for the Sole of Africa campaign and has travelled to Mozambique with the Mineseeker Foundation to see for herself the effects of landmines on women and children.
This experience inspired Toni to write a song for the Sole of Africa campaign entitled “Put Your Foot Down”, which she wrote in Spain while recording Unfolding with former Uriah Heep rock superstar Ken Hensley. The royalties from the sales of this song are being donated to the Mineseeker Foundation. You can find out more about Toni at her MySpace profile or on her personal website.
Meanwhile, the Heartman has been drawing bemused glances – and even the odd cheer – while wobbling down the Umdloti beachfront during his daily practice sessions. He has upgraded from a 24″ wheel to a 36″ and, weighing in at a portly106kg, presents a rather formidable sight to locals not accustomed to seeing anything more exotic than a horse and cart offloading barrels of beer outside the Bush Tavern.
A formidable (and hilarious) sight he may be but Heartman didn’t exactly impress a Doberman Pinscher which ran across our heroic unicyclist the other day. My red hat is extravagantly doffed to local Umdlotian Marc Desvaux de Marigny (gollyness, I’d kill for a name like that) who captured this beautiful moment…
Fido adds a bitemark to the litany of bruises and cuts adorning Heartman's legs. Nice.
All part of the training schedule. Heartman needs those legs to be impenetrable before meeting up with those killer bulls which roam the roads around Mthata. Not to mention the huge risk of being gored by a fusillade of stilettos when he is mobbed by the adoring supermodels who will be waiting to receive him outside Camps Bay’s excruciatingly trendy Caprice restaurant when the Heart & Sole Tour team finally pulls into Cape Town. As Heartman’s back-up vehicle driver and general watch-his-back man, I’ll have a right job keeping the gals at bay. Hmmm.