Legendary South African explorer Kingsley Holgate has officially launched the 4×4 Megaworld Off Road Club. Holgate, who has a long association with 4×4 Megaworld, spoke of the importance of a club that has the environment and Africa at heart.
“We are just an ordinary family with an extraordinary passion for Africa,” said Holgate. “We use adventure to save and improve lives, just as 4×4 Megaworld is aiming to do with this club.”
And that is exactly what the club stands for: a family-oriented organisation that makes the best of Africa, but not at the expense of the ecology or the local communities.
Deon Venter, managing director of 4×4 Megaworld, has had the idea of a 4×4 Megaworld club in the back of his mind for years, but somehow never got around to putting it all together.
But 4×4 Megaworld joined Kingsley’s recent Boundless Southern Africa Expedition, building 11 soccer fields around southern Africa, linking communities in the transfrontier conservation areas.
Members of the 4×4 Megaworld team drove into these remote locations, from Lesotho to Swaziland, Botswana and Mozambique, carrying all the materials needed for a quality soccer field.
They then built these fields, to exact FIFA measurements, close to local schools where they could be appreciated and used. It was on one of these forays that Adolf Waidelich, director of African Outback, decided that a club had to be established to carry on similar work.
Adolf went back to 4×4 Megaworld and encouraged the group to get the club off the ground, and he is now the proud chairman of the newly formed 4×4 Megaworld Club.
“When I was on the Boundless expedition, transporting the soccer poles, the whitewash, the soccer kits and everything else, and helping to build the fields, I thought ‘this is what the 4×4 Megaworld club should do’,” says Adolf. “It doesn’t have to be soccer fields, but we must show the local population that we appreciate their area, and we must thank them in some way for looking after it. If we do this then maybe we can reverse the negative perception people have of 4×4 drivers, and we will be welcomed back into these areas.
“Another fantastic part of the Boundless expedition was mobile libraries that were donated to communities. Many of these small community schools don’t have any books, so these libraries that consist of maybe 100 books are greatly treasured.
“So we’d like the members of our club to commit themselves to make a difference, and to take something with them the next time they go on an expedition. They can take some books, some paint… whatever they can carry.”
The 4×4 Megaworld Off Road Club is open to all, and is affiliated with Motorsport South Africa, as all 4×4 clubs must be. The entry fee is R360 per year, and for this you get a 5% discount at 4×4 Megaworld stores, a 5% discount on CrossCountry Insurance, and more.
The club will be website based, so all information will be disseminated via e-mail or posted on the website. The aim is to use the website to share information between club members, from 4×4, overlanding or vehicle knowledge, to trips that people might want to join.
The mission statement of the club reads as follows: To serve countrywide; a family-oriented club providing expert advice and information on all aspects of the off-road experience and to uphold, at all times, our deep commitment to the protection of the environment and its communities.
Aspects of off-roading that will be covered by the club include 4×4 outings, driver training, marshalling at events, outdoor events, community projects and off-road racing.
The launch finished off with Kingsley again taking centre stage, chatting about his experiences in Africa and imparting some of his love for the continent to the audience. “We are so lucky to live in this place, Mama Afrika,” he said. “And that is why a club like this one is so important. We need to share our love for this continent, pass it around, so that it remains here for us and others to enjoy.”
Kingsley also used the occasion to launch his latest book, Dispatches from the Outside Edge, which is reviewed elsewhere in this issue.