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Six days, 7560 minutes, 1460KM, 126 sleep-deprived hours and 189 000 rowing strokes, all for the sake of children in need. That’s the sum total of what CEO of the South African Rugby Legends Association, Stefan Terblanche, and adventure athletes, Bruce Hughes and Mike Morris accomplished last week. It all happened between Tuesday, 5 November and Sunday, 10 November. And all-in-all, the distance rowed was the same as the distance from Durban to Robben Island.

The epic physical journey was dubbed the Ingane Yami Mandela Challenge, an effort to raise much-needed funds to build an additional home for six children at the Ingane Yami Children’s Village in the Shongweni Valley, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Ingane Yami provides a permanent, loving home for orphaned and vulnerable children from the surrounding area. The Village is made up of individual homes that are cared for by carefully selected foster mothers, each of whom have six children under their roof.

Regular charity champions, Bruce and Mike had already been rowing for 16 hours before Stefan stepped off a plane from Japan and joined them. And when Stefan arrived, they were already 185KM into their race against the clock. 43 hours in, they were just 5KM short of the 500KM mark.

Rugby Legend Tackles a Monumental Charity Challenge
Rugby Legend Tackles a Monumental Charity Challenge

The sweat and gruelling non-stop movement was far from over for all three athletes, but they persevered, with the wellbeing of six children in need of a home top of mind. By Friday, 8 November, they had completed 750Km – well over the halfway mark. By Saturday, despite their exhaustion, they had 100KM to go and they kept at it.

Bruce and Mike rowed on a rotational basis in one-hour shifts, while Stefan took over as the impact rower during the tough late night and early morning hours, allowing the other guys to sleep for six hours. They were were encouraged by well wishes from a number of celebrities including Jack Parow, Neil Breytenbach from Prime Circle and Francois Van Coke.

Stefan commented, “This seemed like a very daunting challenge at first, but we were so humbled by the support and messages we received throughout. They really kept us going. Bruce and Mike are machines. They just didn’t stop and that was a big inspiration to me as well. Most of all, having the kids there and even having one of them join us in the rowing for a bit was an amazing experience.

“Thank you to everyone who supported us, including Spar and Concept2 SA for providing the rowing machines and tracking equipment. The money raised is going to a very good cause. And it’s not too late for the public to make a difference either. You can still contact Ingane Yami to make a donation. No amount is too small.”

To make a donation that could change lives for six underprivileged children at the Ingane Yami Children’s Village, contact Patricia Deacon, Ingane Yami Marketing Manager, on 078 342 0539 or email her on

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