Nelson Mandela Remembrance Walk declared virtual in wake of Omicron
We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but have taken this decision on safety grounds and appeal to everyone for their understanding and continued support, said Nelson Mandela Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sello Hatang.The MRWR is an event we all look forward to eagerly on the calendar and we were looking forward to gathering in numbers to celebrate Madibas massive contribution in all our lives.
- South Africa
Organisers of the annual Mandela Remembrance Walk and Run (MRWR) have decided to convert the event into a completely virtual event this year as COVID-19 infections rise exponentially in the wake of the Omicron variant.
On Thursday, more than 11,500 infections were reported with nearly 80 per cent of them recorded in the main cities of the economic hub province of Gauteng, including Johannesburg and Pretoria, where the event attracted thousands of entrants in the past.
India was one of a number of countries from where participants had already registered, organisers said.
Although this year's event scheduled for Sunday had already been reduced to a maximum of 1,000 physical participants, the rising COVID infection numbers prompted the organisers to convert it into a virtual event.
''Given the current COVID situation and with a view to ensuring the safety of all event participants, we have decided to urge people to participate virtually this year. We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but have taken this decision on safety grounds and appeal to everyone for their understanding and continued support,'' said Nelson Mandela Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sello Hatang.
''The MRWR is an event we all look forward to eagerly on the calendar and we were looking forward to gathering in numbers to celebrate Madiba’s massive contribution in all our lives. But given the current spike in COVID numbers in Gauteng, we have decided to ensure safety first and to protect and safeguard lives.
“We thank all those who have registered for the event and encourage everyone to still do so and join us safely in their own surroundings this year until we are in a position to gather again safely,” said Gauteng provincial minister for Sport, Art, Culture and Recreation, Mbali Hlophe.
Organisers are now urging all participants who have registered and who still wish to participate to do so virtually from wherever they are. Others can also still register online for the 5 kilometre walk or the 10 and 21 kilometre runs at www.mandelawalkandrun.com.
“The event is a social event for the fit, the not so fit and the completely unfit, walk or run your choice of distance and you will be awarded a unique virtual medal and certificate to confirm your participation if you took part anywhere in the rest of South Africa or around the world,” the organisers said.
All proceeds raised will be donated to the Nelson Mandela Foundation to continue promoting the leader’s legacy.
A small, private wreath laying ceremony will be held at the Union Buildings to mark the eighth anniversary of the passing of Madiba, a term used fondly to refer to Mandela.
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