His name is Thomas Hart and he is the founder of Expeditionists.
Thommo Hart’s mission: To complete the 1800 km journey across KwaZulu-Natal and Mozambique in the footsteps of John Ross in order to break the world record for the longest barefoot journey and raise funds for two KwaZulu-Natal based charities – PinkDrive and Empilweni (for the Physically Challenged Community Centreso).
“The concept of Expeditionists grew out of the idea to run barefoot in the footsteps of John Ross in 2012 when my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer, stage three. The challenge was to be a fundraising event to fund my mother’s cost for radiation and chemo.
“Unfortunately, my mother died from her brain tumour within 5 months before we could even set on the expedition. So four years later, I taken upon the opportunity to try and complete the challenge under the banner of Expeditionists, a African community of explorers and adventurers. The challenge will be a cause based expedition, thus due to my mother’s experience with cancer I would like to fundraise for PinkDrive towards one of their mobile screening and awareness units. If we can fundraise for a unit in KwaZulu-Natal, that would even be better.
“Awhile back my mother, Juliet Armstrong, who is a internationally recognised ceramic artists discovered a talented wood carver called Julius Mfete on the KwaZulu-Natal. Julius’s wooden sculptures are in galleries around South Africa. However, about 7 years ago, he complained about stomach pains. The local clinics and hospitals diagnosed him as having TB and a bad diet. So my mother brought him to Pietermaritzburg for testing, and it discovered he had a stomach tumor the size of a soccer ball and he died 6 months later.
“If the clinics and hospitals in the rural coastal areas of the Transkei and South Coast had done proper screens Julius could be alive today still making his beautiful wooden sculptures.
“Thus, that is why I say if I can raise funds for a mobile screening and awareness unit for KZN and its rural areas that would be really special.”
The objective of the challenge is to:
- Raise above R100 000 in funds to donate to PinkDrive so that they can purchase a mobile cancer testing and treatment van
- Raise above R100 000 in funds to donate to the Empilweni for the Physically Challenged Community Centreso that they can purchase a Combi to transport mentally and physically disabled children from their homes to the centre
- Create cancer and disability awareness in local rural communities • Complete the expedition barefoot
- Tell the story of John Ross and Shaka Zulu through the eyes of local South Africans
- Market our sponsors through creating content that can be broadcast, published and advertised
The route of the journey will start in Pietermaritzburg and then pass Kranskop, the Tugela river, Eshowe, Pongola and enter into Swaziland at Lavumisa. Once in Swaziland we will cross the country to the Bulembu border post with South Africa. We will cross back into South Africa and make our way through Mpumalanga where we’ll exit the country into Mozambique at the Komatipoort border crossing. From there we will move along the highway to Maputo. Once in Maputo we will rest for a few days and then carry on with the second leg of our journey along the coast of Mozambique and South Africa to Durban. See the map of our route below.