Freeth to raise funds for farm workers

Adventurer and former Zimbabwean commercial farmer Ben Freeth and his two young sons will attempt the first crossing of one of the world’s largest salt pans in a home-made, kite-powered go-kart during mid August to raise funds for the recently formed Mike Campbell Foundation.

Ben Freeth with his two sons, Joshua (left) and Stephen will attempt the first crossing of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana in a kite-powered go-kart as a fundraiser.
Ben Freeth with his two sons, Joshua (left) and Stephen will attempt the first crossing of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana in a kite-powered go-kart as a fundraiser.

The wooden craft will sail approximately 160km across the Makgadikgadi salt pans, which are located on the fringes of the Kalahari desert in north-eastern Botswana and cover a vast area of more than 15,540 square kilometres.

They are home to the second largest migration of zebra and wildebeest in the world, with up to 75,000 animals crossing their seasonal grasslands each year.

Named the ‘Mike Campbell Dune Dancer’, the go-kart was designed and built by Joshua (12) and Stephen (10), the late Mike Campbell’s grandchildren, and originally had an Optimist dinghy sail.

The body is lightweight, with wheels large and wide enough to go over the pans’ thin crust, as well as clearance to allow it to run over tussocks and rocky areas. For the expedition, it will be propelled by a five-metre kite.

The Mike Campbell Foundation was set up last year to honour the courage of Mr Campbell, a Zimbabwean commercial farmer and conservationist who fought for justice and the protection of human rights after the violent government-led farm invasions decimated his country.

Through the expedition, the UK-based foundation hopes to raise R130,000 for its work. The money raised will provide training, medical assistance and educational support to additional destitute Zimbabwean farm workers who have lost everything due to the political violence.

With just US$ 50 (R400), the Mike Campbell Foundation can supply a family with seed, inputs and the training they need to feed themselves for a whole year – and buy the seed and inputs for the following year.

“A well-wisher in America recently donated an artificial leg for a farm worker who was crippled in the 2008 post election violence and this has transformed his life,” said Freeth.

The foundation is also involved with justice work and a lobby campaign to reinstate the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal which was dissolved by the SADC heads of state in May 2011.

This tribunal was the only regional court where victims of human rights abuses could go when justice systems failed in their own countries –as has happened in Zimbabwe.

“Every donation will contribute to rebuilding shattered lives in Zimbabwe and protecting people’s rights,” Freeth said.

To follow the expedition and make a secure donation online: www.justgiving.com/Mike-Campbell-Foundation

Post published in: News
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