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When I decided I would like to run the Two Oceans Half Marathon for the Sakhikamva Foundation, I immediately started worrying about if I could actually do it. I hadn’t run that far before, the cut off time for this run is 3 hours and 10 minutes, and if you can’t reach the 18km mark by a certain time you are not allowed to continue.

Committing to run 21.1km is one thing, committing to it and then raising money for a charity is another. There is no hiding, you are asking people for donations, and with that you set up an expectation: the expectation that you will get up, get going and, most importantly, get to the finish line. 

Some Sakhikamva runners at Two Oceans Expo Suki Lock

So when I made this decision, I figured I had better run some form of race to gauge my chances of success. It was the beginning of January, and Bay2Bay was coming up. There are 2 versions, 30km from Camps Bay to Houtbay and back, or 15km starting at Houtbay. I looked at some race predictions and figured if I could complete the 15km in 2 hours and 10 minutes, I should be fine when it came to Oceans, with the 3 more months of training. It took me 2 hours and 2 minutes. I felt positive. 

I downloaded a sub-3-hour training programme from the Two Oceans website, to get a feel for what I needed to do. In the first month I nearly doubled my weekly distance from before I signed up for “the Half”. My long runs on weekends were based on the Two Oceans programme and were between 12 and 18km each. My week schedule was based on info my running partner gave me, endurance and hills on Tuesdays (about 12km) and speed/interval training on Thursdays (about 6km). At some point I added walking 6km on Mondays, which turned into jogging 7km. 

I was hearing all this talk about the Two Oceans Half and Southern Cross Drive, and what an awful hill it is. I got nervous. After a chat with my running buddy we decided to go check it out for ourselves. We couldn’t do the exact route, since some of it is on the freeway. Instead we did 18km of reasonable approximation, starting at the race start, and ending at Kirstenbosch, via Southern Cross of course. And no, it’s not my favourite, but I survived. I was feeling a little better. 

But, not much later, I became nervous again, and the idea of 15 000 runners made me worry about getting over the start in time. The race is “gun-to-mat” which means the timer starts as the gun fires, and if you are at the back of the group it can take minutes just to reach the official starting line. What if I take so long to start that even running it in 3 hours, leaving me with a 10 minute buffer, is not enough?

So I spoke to my running buddy, and we decided on a test-half, and chose the Tyger Run in March. Admittedly without nearly as many runners, it took me 1 minute 30 seconds to get over the start line and I completed it in just under 2 hours and 43 minutes. That leaves me with a 27 minute buffer, and my nerves calmed again. 

As you probably guessed by now, even armed with a half marathon under the belt, it didn’t take long for me to get nervous again. I know I am prepared, but there is a little, silly voice in the back of my head, trying to spread some doubt. And now, just a few days before THE run, I am fluctuating between extreme excitement, nagging nervousness and pure panic on a near hourly cycle. 

The one thing however that has changed for me is the fear of “what people will think.” I’ve been so worried about people’s expectations and about me being left ashamed if I cannot complete the run for some reason. But I have learned that I have many people in my life that care for me more than I had realised, and they will be supportive even if disaster strikes. They will let me lick my wounds, and then ask when the next one is...

And on the day, my Hubbie, my kids and my running partner will be there. At the start, along the way, at the finish line, there will be support for me and the other runners. At the Two Oceans Expo I met some of the other Sakhikamva runners, and we will support each other too. 

At worst, I would have given it a shot, but I have put in the work, and I am looking forward to having a medal to show for it. 

Taking one step at a time - every time - until it is done.

Last year, when the runners started crossing the finish line for the Two Oceans, I was excited for them. The Two Oceans is a race I am very aware of, and for many years I have been supporting the race, often on the side of the road, cheering on friends and family.

But if you told me last year that I would be one of those runners in 2019, I would have laughed and told you, “I don’t run.” And I could have said that with all honesty, as only 2 days earlier, on 29 March 2018, I walked a little over 3 kilometers, and was not so sure I would ever do it again.

I grew up in a household were the boys did sport, and the girls did culture. So, while my brothers played rugby and ran all over the place, my sisters and I were encouraged to play music and perform in school theatre productions. This was simply the norm, and I didn’t really consider exercise as a part of my life.

Of course, as the years passed, I realised that I do not have a body that can be described as “small” – and that misguided eating habits and the lack of exercise probably had a lot to do with this. I had exercised and dieted a few times in my life, always with the goal of losing weight, and had never thought that it could be anything other than self-inflicted torture, with the main goal of liking what I see in the mirror. And I always gave up at some point, not liking myself at all…

So, when I took those first steps, a little over a year ago, I did not have much hope that it would last. The main reason I even put on running shoes was because a friend of mine pitched up at the door and said, “Let’s go.” I didn’t even put on exercise clothes, but wore a long skirt because I was too ashamed of myself and did not want people to realise that I was exercising.

But my friend kept on knocking on the door, and we kept going for walks. Later those walks became shuffle-jogs, and later still, jogs. In November I realised I could jog for 6 kilometers. Slowly, yes, but for the complete 6 kilometers. That was the first time I thought – maybe, just maybe – I can take up running as a sport.

A month or so later my running shoes (which I had had for years and had used for all kinds of things, other than running), got to the point that they needed replacing, if I was going to give this running thing a proper shot. My running friend and I went to the store, and she asked the sales person, who was holding a pair of running shoes, “can those do a half marathon?” I giggled! A half marathon was crazy, that’s 21.1 kilometers! I had done walk/runs of up to 12 kilometers at that point, and a half marathon seemed a very far way off… The sales person confirmed that a half marathon could indeed be done. I still thought it ridiculous, but a seed was planted…

The idea stuck, and since my running buddy had entered for the Two Oceans Half Marathon, and I had been supporting the race for so long, I decided to go for it. I would have nearly 4 months to train, and I had people who believed in me.

As the race entries had already closed, I had 2 options, wait for substitutions to open (where you take over the entry for someone who cannot take part anymore) or, run for charity. I liked the idea of running for a charity, as the extra motivation of doing good while attempting this challenge seemed like that extra little push I needed. I choose Sakhikamva as I believe education is key in the future of South Africa, my hubbie has a dream of learning to fly, and my kids have a very strong chance of turning into computer geeks, just like their dad.

Now, with just over a week to go, I am thrilled that I am almost half way to my fundraising goal, my training has been going well, and feel ready to take on the road for Sakhikamva.

If you would like to donate, please visit

Paper jets in the classroom might annoy a lot of teachers, but the Science Learning Centre of the University of the Western Cape (UWC-SLC), in partnership with the Sakhikamva Foundation, hosted the annual Paper Jet competition in Athlone on Saturday 24 May 2014.

Learners from the fourteen schools which fall under the Central Education District of the Western Cape Education Department were invited to attend the event. The competition aimed to test the speed, distance and design capabilities of the paper jets crafted and entered into the competition by learners. Teams from each school combined their knowledge of aerodynamics, mathematics and paper engineering with a good throwing arm, and competed in three categories, namely: the longest flight duration (timed with a stopwatch); the longest distance flown (measured with a measuring tape); and the best paper airplane design (learners presented and explained their design/research to the panel).

Prof Shaheed Hartley, Director of the UWC Science Learning Centre, indicated that “the collaboration with the curriculum advisor of the Central Education District has been a great success. Mr Francois Jones is one of the teachers who was trained by UWC-SLC and has moved on to be a curriculum advisor in the Western Cape district”.

“It is our first time hosting the competition in conjunction with all the schools in this district which includes areas such as Langa, Gugulethu, Athlone and many others”, he explains.

“Through this competition we intend to instil a culture of taking science and technology seriously at an early age, by getting students to use their geometry skills in the time and distance categories of the competition. We want to see these kids as pilots one day and that is why we came up with the Paper Jet Competition” adds Prof Hartley.

“We know how much kids love throwing paper jets around at school, so we decided to give them and their teachers some formal training. Each school also hosted an internal competition – which is how we chose the groups present here today,” says Prof Hartley.

Fatima Jakoet, who is the founder of the Sakhikamva Foundation and a qualified pilot working for South African Airways, says the competition encourages the students and their teachers to think outside of the classroom.

She also adds that the partnership with UWC started in 2012 and has been getting better every year since.

Saturday, 01 December 2018 22:53

Congratulations Alexander

28 February 2018 A proud moment for Sakhikamva Foundation as our first Commercial Pilot License ALEXANDER VILLETTE enters the world as a Professional Pilot. He completed his Commercial Pilot License at Morningstar Flight Academy, in Cape Town. We wish to Thank our Sponsors and Supporters, Morningstar Flight Academy and the members of Morningstar Flying Club.


Wednesday, 14 November 2018 22:48

Alexander Villette Private Pilot License (PPL)

Cape Town  - The Western Cape Microlight Club (WCMC) together with the Sakhikamva Foundation announce that Alexander Villette has recently passed the CAA Skills Test for his Private Pilot License (PPL) and was awarded his Club wings on the 9th November 2014.


SAA First Officer, Fatima Jakoet                                                      PPL, Alexander Villette

Alexander Villette was one of two recipients of the WCMC PPL Scholarship program who was selected by a panel of highly experienced WCMC pilots, including an active SAA Captain, and the Sakhikamva Foundation. The scholarship covered all the PPL training costs and was sponsored by the generous donations from some of the WCMC members.

The WCMC PPL Scholarship Program is an ongoing contribution by the WCMC to develop pilots that hail from previously disadvantaged communities. A spokesperson for the WCMC, said, “We are extremely proud of Alex and his commitment to the training program. We wish him the best of luck for the future and we are sure he will in the near future be piloting a commercial jet. We trust he will not forget the WCMC and will choose to remain a member of the Club throughout his, hopefully, long aviation career.”

SAA First Officer, Fatima Jakoet, the founder of the Sakhikamva foundation, and a key person responsible for selecting Alex from a large number of applicants was quoted as saying, “Alex has really taken this opportunity with both hands & we are exceptionally proud of his achievement in obtaining his PPL.”

Alexander took a total of 46 hours to complete his license over a period of 7 months. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity to kick start my aviation career” said Alexander. He will now commence training for his night rating before applying for a bursary from Teta to enroll for his Commercial Pilots License.

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