KHALTSHA CYCLES: EMPOWERING KHAYELITSHA THROUGH SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT
Two passionate entrepreneurs, Sindile and Juma, are bringing the love of cycling to Khayelitsha to change the way their community gets around.
The Insider SA visits the one-stop bike shop that’s revolutionising transport in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Khaltsha Cycles was founded in 2018 by Sindile Mavundla, Juma Mkwela and Divinia Stevens. Together, they share a passion for promoting a culture of cycling in townships and believe they can positively change South Africa by offering quality, affordable bicycles to their community.
Sindile Mavundla explains the origins of Khaltsha Cycles saying, “We started with Learn2Cycle classes. This programme teaches first-time riders how to ride a bicycle. Once people learnt how to ride, they immediately asked, ‘Where can I buy a bike?’. That’s when we thought, how about we put together a bicycle shop?”
Sindile and Juma found that there had never a bicycle shop in Khayelitsha. Since the duo have been riding bikes together for over ten years, they knew they had the knowledge and skill required to open up a shop that offers quality bikes and a bike mechanic for repairs.
Juma tells The Insider about the launch of their shop in collaboration with bicycle supplier, Qhubeka and the Tour de France, who donated funds for Khaltsha Cycles to purchase a 12m shipping container, workshop tools and further provided training for a mechanic.
Sindile and Juma’s love of cycling has been infectious and the adults of Khayelitsha have been picking up cycling as a mode of transportation and as a hobby. But the two were rather surprised when they found their main target market wasn’t actually adults, but rather kids demanding BMXs. The two entrepreneurs laugh as they watch the overly-eager children drag their parents to the shop to get them their first bike. While it is convenient for transport, bikes are also great for wheelies, stunts, and hours of fun!
Another programme Khaltsha Cycles runs is Bike2School where they supply learners with bicycles so that students can safely commute from home to their schools.
During the hard lockdown, Community Action Networks (CANs) started sprouting up across the country to enable neighbourhoods to help those most vulnerable and in need of support during the national state of disaster. The Langa CAN has been using Khaltsha Cycles to make sure their community stays alive.
Langa CAN member, Mzkikona Mgeldle, explains, “We have been using bicycles to deliver food to bedridden and disabled beneficiaries, working with the local clinic. Khaltsha Cycles has helped us during these trying times to have a way of commuting. We’re using bikes to make sure people get food”.
Sindile shares, “The goal is to get Khayelitsha to become a cycling township. I think if wecan make turn townships to cycling communities then Cape Town could become a cycling city , but to do that, we need to actually start with townships. We want to see Khayelitsha being linked to Cape Town and Stellenbosch through a bicycle freeway that we’re currently having conversations about to try and make it work. We want people to use bicycles as a preferred mode of transport, that’s what we want to achieve”.
So far, Khaltsha Cycles has trained 86 cyclists through the Learn2Cycle classes and have provided 145 bicycles to essential workers doing extraordinary work in fighting the spread of COVID-19. With their cultural impact growing, there’s no stopping this team from turning the country into a cycling South Africa.