Domino Foundation cyclists tackle race for Dunoon project

Riaan van der Westhuizen and his son, Nathan, are preparing for the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

A team of cyclists in this year’s Cape Town Cycle Tour is representing a charity that uses recycling to improve people’s lives.

The Domino Foundation’s team of 10 will be jostling with 35 000 other riders in support of the foundation’s Recycle Swop Shop in Dunoon.

The non-profit organisation -which runs feeding and life skills programmes, among others, in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal – uses recyclable materials as means of exchange for basic necessities in informal settlements.

The foundation wants to promote its Dunoon initiative which is spreading the word about recycling and caring for the environment.

Melkbosstrand resident Riaan van der Westhuizen heads the swop shop programme, and he will be tackling this year’s race with his 14-year-old son, Nathan, on their tandem on Sunday March 12.

“We’re honoured to ride together to spread the Recycle Swop Shop story which offers restoration of dignity and self-worth, through cleaning the environment and clothing and feeding people,” said Mr Van der Westhuizen.

His wife, Maria, pioneered the swop shop six years ago, but after she returned to full-time employment, he took over the project about a year-and-a-half ago.

An IT contractor, he spends two days a week at the swop shop based at Inkwenkwezi Secondary school in Waxberry Street.

He said residents brought between 500kg to 1000kg recyclable materials to the shop each week, for which they receive tokens.

“People can exchange their tokens for second-hand clothes and shoes, mielie meal, beans, pilchards, sugar, oil, soap, toothpaste, soup, rice, pasta, samp, milk, salt, school books. We cater for basic food needs,” he said.

Mr Van der Westhuizen has done the Cape Town Cycle tour, previously called the Cape Argus Cucle Tour, for the past six years, and this is the first time that he will be joined by his son.

In preparation for the 109km route, Mr Van der Westhuizen does spinning classes, and when he gets the chance, he rides before or after work during the week.

Nathan is a long-distance runner and trains really hard during the week. The pair are up early on weekends clocking up the kilometres on their tandem.

“It has always been a dream of mine to ride the Cape Town Cycle Tour on a tandem with my three sons. Nathan’s brothers are twins, Oliver and Sebastian. I am hoping to ride the next race with one of them,” he said.

* For more information about the Recycle Swop Shop go to their Facebook page, email rmvander3@gmail.com or call 072 333 2919.