It has never been seen before – a race through the history books of the Mother City, passing many of the historic landmarks built by the slaves in the early 1700’s. This vision became a reality when the Jive Slave Route Challenge took place on Sunday 12 June 2011 at the Grand Parade.
The race was organised by Itheko Sport AC, which was formed in 2008 and according to race director, Farouk Meyer, this marked the beginning of a running phenomenon. “Itheko is a Xhosa word meaning the ‘big occasion’. So our slogan is: ‘Making your running experience, your big occasion’. In 2009 Lion of Africa became the official sponsor of the club and we are now known as the Lion of Africa Itheko Sport AC, registered with Western Province Athletics which in turn is affiliated to Athletics South Africa.” he explained.
Meyer, who also serves as head coach described it as a race that differs from all other races in Cape Town. “The race is designed to place emphasis on the historic sites built and created by the slaves. This year marks the Inaugural Jive Slave Route Challenge, a race with great historic significance and value,” he said.
The race started in Darling Street and end at the Grand Parade. The half marathon started at 7.30am, while the 10km run or walk started 10 minutes later. The 5km fun run or walk started at 7.50am, while the 10km big walk started at 8.30am.
The race followed an extensive route related to the slave history:
1. Grand Parade (Darling Street) – Van Riebeeck’s Fort De Goede Hoop (where the Parade is today) where slaves were first housed.
2. Whipping Post (cnr Buitenkant & Darling) – The south-western corner of Darling and Buitenkant Streets was once a place of torture and execution. There was a post to which slaves and convicted persons were tied while receiving corporal punishment.
3. St Marks Church – Built in 1867 in District Six and has served the Anglicans of that community since then to the present day.
4. Aspeling Street Mosque (aka Al-Azhar) – The oldest mosque in District Six founded in 1887.
5. Holy Cross Convent – A Catholic primary school, part of the Archdiocese of Cape Town. It was blessed and opened in 1916.
6. Auwal Mosque (Dorp Street) – It is the oldest mosque in the country. The Muslim faith was brought to South Africa by slaves imported from the East. This mosque’s history dates back to 1794. The property was owned by a freed slave, Salie Coridon of Ceylon.
7. Bo-Kaap and Tana Baru Cemetery – The Bo-Kaap is inhabited mainly by descendants of slaves who were brought here by the Dutch East India Co. in the early days of the settlement. This area is characterised by narrow, cobblestone streets and mosques. Many of the flat roofed, colourful houses date back to the 18th century. Many slaves were Muslim and were buried above the Bo-Kaap (Tana Baru Cemetery). The burial ground has a magnificent view of the city.
8. Palm Tree Mosque (Top of Long Street) – Built in the 1780’s as a house with a prayer room.
9. Old Slave Church, SA Mission Museum (Top of Long Street) – SA Missionary Society founded in 1799 to spread Christianity to the slaves.
10. Government Avenue passes the SA National Gallery, Cape Town Holocaust Centre, SA Jewish Museum and SA Parliament.
11. The Company’s Garden (Adderley Street) – One of the many gardens worked by Company slaves is at the top of Adderley Street. There is a symbolic slave bell in the Company’s Garden. Bells like this were used on farms to call slaves to work.
12. St. George’s Cathedral – The seat of the Archbishop of Cape Town. The cathedral replaced a church built in 1834 on the same site.