Changing the narrative

This year, for the first time, an all-black female team will compete in the Desert Dash, with the aim of challenging the status quo.
Jamie-Lee Loss
The long-awaited Nedbank Desert Dash will take place today, and Old Mutual Namibia will sponsor the first all-black women’s squad. Vicky Dan, Winnie Mukupuki, Sofia Simon and Jacky Shipena will make up the team.

To date, there has never been an all-black team participating in the Nedbank Desert Dash.

The Old Mutual Namibia-sponsored team aims to change this status quo and empower fellow female cycling enthusiasts.

Dan, who set a goal to put together an all-black team to partake in the 2022 Nedbank Desert Dash, is extremely excited about what she, Mukupuki, Simon and Shipena are set to do this year. She emphasised that their key objective was to ride for inclusivity and representation, and that they have received a significant amount of publicity and public attention as people are eager to see a team of black women ride in the Desert Dash.

Ready to impress

Dan highlighted that the preparation for this year’s race has not been easy.

“Once the first hurdle of getting the team together was set, there was an urgent need to find an organisation that would sponsor our ambitious goal. I must say with pride that Old Mutual as my employer really made me proud when they came on board and to make our dream a reality,” she said.

The team is fully committed and strongly believes in promoting women’s participation in cycling and encouraging healthy, active lifestyles to inspire the girl child.

Furthermore, “one of the fundamental lessons learnt was that if you never ask, the answer will always be no. Whether it was for the women to join the team on this historic ride or for Old Mutual to sponsor us, it was through a leap of faith that we are finally here and ready to make Old Mutual and the nation proud.”

Mignon du Preez, marketing, public affairs and sustainability executive, said Old Mutual Namibia is happy to be connected with the four women. “We surely are proud of the ladies who will be cycling under our banner and know that on 9 December they will make history,” she said.

The support from Old Mutual Namibia will help the team cover their accommodation, travel and clothing costs, allowing them to focus on the race and ultimately enjoy the Nedbank Desert Dash.