Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival Diary Note

 No: kc1806

24 May 2018

Embargo : None

Written by : Dave Macleod

Karkloof riders rally to support local school

Karkloof – With another big field entered for the 25th anniversary of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival this weekend, riders and trail runners are being asked to throw their weight behind a local primary school's drive to improve the education of youngsters in the area.

The Hawkstone Primary School, which is seven kilometres from the race headquarters at the Karkloof Country Club, runs an Early Childhood Development (ECD) class aimed at helping young local children get a better head start with their schooling.

Local resident Mary Gray started the project in January this year with the support of local landowner Bruce McKenzie. It is run on a daily basis by teacher Londiwe Dladla, catering for nine boys and girls ranging from three to six years of age, with another twelve grade R pupils visiting the school twice a week.

The school's ECD programme has been supported by the race in the past, and this year the race is appealing to mountain bikers and trail runners coming to enjoy the Karkloof trails to get directly involved in supporting the school by donating specific items that will be useful on a daily basis.

These include educational toys, building blocks, puzzles and any sorting games, as well as basic classroom needs like carpets, a full length wall mirror, preschool desks and any English story books relevant to pre-school children.

Gray said she was also looking for a number of the plastic ride-on kids bikes for their playground, and said she hoped this would strike a chord with the mountain bikers.

The race is also aiming to raise money to enable Dladla, who also went to Hawkstone Primary School, to receive further ECR training at the Caversham Educational Institute to allow her to get a qualifications aligned with the National Qualification Framework.

"Supporting the greater Karkloof community has always been an important priority for us," said Sappi's Communications Manager for Forests, Zelda Schwalbach.

"This event attracts a lot of tourism business to the region over this weekend, but it is very important to leave a lasting legacy of this event on the Karkloof community.

"Early Childhood Development (ECD) is extremely important, as it occurs at a phase of a child’s life where important physical, psychological, cognitive and social development should be taking place.

"A child who attends an ECD class has a significantly higher chance of doing well at primary and high school, and ultimately of reaching their full potential, and is the prime reason why we have opted to support ECD here, and in several other communities adjacent to our operations,” she said.

"It's a key step in reducing social inequality, which assists in poverty relief and assists in economic upliftment of communities.

"Enhancing the future prospects of the young boys and girls that live in the area will contribute to their own future prospects and their potential to contribute to this country in the future.

"I hope this appeal resonates with the riders and trail runners," she added. "donating any relevant items that can be used in the ECD classes will be hugely appreciated, and there is always the option of making a cash donation."

The project sits neatly alongside the Sappi Forests/TREE Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme that has been running since 2014, based on a growing body of international evidence which shows that language and cognitive development are especially important during the first six months to three years of life and that the more stimulating the early environment, the more a child develops and learns.

In KwaZulu-Natal Sappi has partnered with local NPO Training and Resources in Early Education (TREE) to train 23 women across KwaZulu-Natal as ECD practitioners. These candidates were selected from communities adjacent to Sappi Forests’ plantations.

"They have now completed their three year training course and have graduated with NQF Level 4 Accreditation as fully-fledged and qualified ECD practitioners," said Schwalbach.

"In 2016, Sappi expanded the programme to train a further 36 trainees which consisted of 18 crèche workers and 18 workers that were in charge of informal playgroups; also from forests communities," she added.

The 2018 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at the Karkloof Country Club on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May 2018. More info can be found at


Photo Caption Photographer Click to download the hi-res pic

Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival Logo - GIF


Avid enduro rider Kath Fourie (left) gets into the mood of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival with Hawkstone pre-Primary pupil Elihle and his Early Childhood Development teacher Londiwe Dladla. Riderss and trail runners taking part in this weekend's events are being asked to support the school by bring relevant learning aids to the race this weekend or to make a cash donation.

Mary Gray/
Gameplan Media

Pupils from the Hawkstone School's Early Childhood Development programme showing off what sort of goods they are looking forward to being donated by participants in this weekend's Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival. Riders and trail runners taking part in this weekend's races are being asked to support the school's Early Childhood Development programme by bring relevant learning aids to the race this weekend or to make a cash donation.

Kathryn Fourie/
Gameplan Media

ECD teacher Londiwe Dladla with youngsters that attend the Early Childhood Development class. Riders and trail runners taking part in this weekend's Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival are being asked to support the Hawkstone Primary School's Early Childhood Development programme by bring relevant learning aids to the race this weekend or to make a cash donation.

Kathryn Fourie/
Gameplan Media

Conditions of usage of photographs: All photographs supplied and hyperlinked herewith may be used free of charge, with full credit to the photographer and agency as provided. The photographs may not be modified or retouched in any way, but may be cropped to suit the layout requirements of the publications. The photographs provided may be used exclusively for editorial purposes, and may be reprinted in any newspaper, magazine, television programme or on any website. These photographs may not be used for any commercial or promotional purpose, including but not limited to posters, advertisements, commercials, promotional email correspondence, point-of-sale material or any retail promotion. Should such usage be desired, please contact us at the details below.
For any further information, or if you cannot access the images, please contact:
Gameplan Media
(031) 764 3017