Cape Town, 1 July 2014 - Randgold Resources chief executive Mark Bristow and his Boyz on Bikes team have arrived at Cape Point 26 days and 10 000 kilometres after leaving Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire on a motorbike ride aimed at raising funds for Africa’s poorest people and increasing international awareness of their plight.
The trans-continent ride - the fourth of its kind Bristow has undertaken - took in 12 African countries and raised some $1.6 million from sponsors and supporters, well in excess of its $1 million target. With the riders paying their own way, all this money is going to beneficiaries ranging from a girls’ orphanage in Côte d’Ivoire to South Africa’s Compass project which cares for abandoned children. (Note to ed: see list of beneficiaries below).
The ride took place under the aegis of Randgold’s recently established charitable foundation Nos Vies en Partage (Sharing Prosperity), which supports poverty relief, education advancement, primary health care improvement, food safety and security, and the creation of employment and training opportunities.
Bristow said on arrival that the fact that the ride could be completed on schedule, despite the many challenges associated with travelling by bike through some of the continent’s least developed countries, was a tribute to the team’s approach, which mirrored Randgold’s business philosophy.
“Whether you’re developing a mine or embarking on a safari, you need a clear goal and a carefully calculated, practicable plan to get there. You also need to engage with the local people and make sure that they benefit from your presence and activities,” he said.
“It says much for Africa that along the road we met many incidences of support and hospitality. When we reached the Lufu River between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, for example, we found that the bridge had been washed away. A group of local men helped us to achieve the near impossible task of digging steps down the steep river bank, ferrying the bikes across in small boats and hauling them up the other side.”
Bristow said a special vote of thanks was due to the donors whose generous support had enabled the ride to exceed its ambitious fund-raising target. Almost 200 companies and individuals from as far afield as Austria, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, France, Italy, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, UK, Uganda and USA have already made donations in support of the trip.
He noted that the foundation still had more to do. “I will be continuing handing out donations during my annual review of Randgold’s West African exploration sites which begins in Senegal later this week. This way we will be able to reach more people who have been left behind by society in the West African countries in which we operate - namely Senegal, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire.”
An online journal of the trip can be viewed at www.3boyzonbikes.com and full details of the foundation can be found at www.partage-foundation.org.