More than 800 walkers, a mix of community members, Sol Plaatje University (SPU) staff and students, made history in Kimberley when they turned out in force for SPU’s inaugural Community Big Walk on 22 July 2023.
Braving the chill of the morning, enthusiastic participants gathered to participate in the 4.9km fun walk, a significant moment for the community. Prof Andrew Crouch, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, extended a warm welcome to all, expressing gratitude for the high turnout that clearly demonstrated unity and support for the initiative. He also thanked the event organisers, partners, and sponsors for their role in ensuring the Big Walk’s success.
“Welcome to the first-ever SPU community Big Walk. We would like to make this an annual event and for it to become bigger. The proceeds of this event will go towards students’ mental and health programmes. SPU is turning 10 in August and we are celebrating our decade of existence with you,” he said.
A cornerstone of SPU’s fifth strategic goal is to foster meaningful connections within its community, build sustainable relationships, and inspire a sense of pride and hope amongst the Kimberley community and the Northern Cape region at large.
Walking, an easy and accessible form of exercise, promotes holistic well-being and fosters emotional and social connections. During the walk, participants had the opportunity to get a glimpse of all SPU campuses and activities, and enjoyed the hospitality through networking and joining in on the fun.
The event was a family affair with a wide range of activities for all ages. From a chance to win cash and prizes totalling R10,000 to enjoying the attractions of a flea market and a variety of children’s activities –jumping castles, rope skipping and pony rides – there was something for everyone.
This inaugural Community Big Walk offered the public an affordable, low-impact activity promoting health, camaraderie, and fun. The event marked a historic milestone, successfully bringing the Kimberley community together in a unique way.
As Prof Crouch said: “Thank you for your support for SPU and this Community Big Walk. It is an investment in the future of Kimberley and this country.”