Building Bridges

Building Bridges

Many bridges are built through knowledge, kindness and trust towards a better future for all.

Words Chris Kingsley opening image David Manicum @Platform21

Chris Kingsley, the co-founder of Sport for Lives and teacher at Hilton College, takes us on a bridge-crossing adventure in his thoughtful piece about himself and a team of other cyclists and runners who embarked on a journey of 500 kilometers in eight days.

He shares with us the importance of figuratively building bridges with others and for a greater cause through his partnership with the Kolisi Foundation and their vision to “change the narratives around inequality”. He wishes to inspire us to build bridges that “count”.

The partnership is driven by our shared desire to change the narratives around inequality in South Africa. Our purpose is to activate generosity through the vehicle of sport. We are honored to partner with the Kolisi Foundation, a platform through which Kwanda’s voice and personal hope for his community can be amplified.

On 16 June 2021, a team of six embarked on a 500km run/cycle from Hilton College in the Midlands to Manguzi in Northern KZN.

This partnership between Sport for Lives, Kolisi Foundation, and Hilton College was to raise funds to support the educational journey and provide educational support two disadvantaged children from the area, to build bridges through the power of sport, and to amplify the story of Kwanda Sibiya, whose goal it was to build a bridge between these two vastly different communities, the two worlds he finds himself a part of.

And after eight, sometimes grueling, days of adventure, incredible generosity, and support we achieved what we set out to do

It’s time to start BUILDING BRIDGES. Even if we don’t get to use them, we must build by faith, trusting that many others will go where we couldn’t, simply because we believed in the possibility of a better futurefor ALL. – Ncedo Koyana


As we travelled together, we could not help talking about the power of bridge building in the physical and figurative sense. Over the kilometres we tried to count the number of bridges we crossed as we meandered through the stunning landscape of KwaZulu-Natal, but there were just too many.

We crossed over old bridges, new bridges, bridges for trains, bridges for cars, bridges for people, broken bridges, small bridges, big bridges. But, no matter what their size or purpose, every bridge made life that little bit easier.

Just recently many of us would have experienced how the unrest in KZN, broke bridges (physical routes and those built on trust) making food, fuel, medicine, and all essential services scarce. Beyond the supply of physical need, when metaphysical bridges are broken, then the very fabric of all that’s good about our society, the stuff that sets us apart as South Africans begins to erode. Many bridges were built throughout this trip.

Humanitarian, Kingsley Holgate, led us through the stunning forests and vast sugarcane fields of the North Coast, taking us off the main routes to see the smaller insignificant bridges where the most magnificent beauty lay waiting. And when Frans, the owner of the Wimpy in St Lucia, generously gave us supper and breakfast, despite COVID, he too was building a bridge of kindness and generosity. As did the many families, hotel, and guesthouse owners who offered us the same along the way. Our conversations built bridges between those of us in the group too.

Ncedo Koyana, Programme Co-ordinator for Education and Sports Development at the Kolisi Foundation, and I shared some simple, but powerful outlooks. Not only did he inspire this thought piece on bridge building, but we shared around the idea of transactional giving and feelings of indebtedness between white and black, understanding something new about each other. We both got to see ideologies behind generosity differently; we built a bridge between our differences.

Kwazulu-Natal is brought together by a bridge of its own, a hyphen within its name, signifying two starkly contrasting cultures. We are faced by divisions wherever we look in our province. But, it’s the daily “insignificant” bridges each of us builds every day that could just be what turns things around to let deep, heartfelt understanding and powerful unity flow through our nation.

If we don’t do what we can to have those conversations, spend time sharing and caring for each other, we will miss out on the possibilities we could achieve together, we could be robbing our children of a more connected, stronger, more stable world.

So, as I learned on this trip, perhaps each of us needs to start with a conversation right where we find ourselves. Build a bridge that counts, no matter how small and unnoticed. Without the bridges that each of us individually and collectively build, South Africa won’t be able to connect our different potentials.

So, if you’re not building for yourself, it’s time to start building for your children or the generations that will follow you, it’s time to start building a bridge for something that will last. Most of the bridges we went over or under were built many years before us by people we will never get to meet. The relationship I have with Ncedo today was actually first built years ago by a Mandela generation bridge, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Place Pledge

This is non-binding commitment of support to the fundraiser that you will make a donation amount based on the amount of goals/tries/kms/etc achieved.