Confessions from the Heart
Very easy today to pick a colour outfit! as a Proudly South African we will be dressed in black in support of our Farmers in our Country. But for me personally it will be for every single person who have lost a person due to Crime in our Country. I wear black for all the sadness.
We are very close to our Farmers, as every singe event we host are on a Farmers land. Over 8 years of organising Adventure Races we are always welcomed with Open arms!
Using this beautiful photo of myself and my Glam Productions Business partner Amanda for the post. I see myself here proudly standing as a happy South African and only want the best for my children and our future in my beloved South Africa! as #itsallaboutlove for me always!
Lets teach our Country to love again!
Just me ...
We look every year for what is most needed in the area closest to our Host Town and found this wonderful organisation who is so desperately in need of Funding. Our whole idea is to get the teams participating with a local child which will benefit from our contributions and make a Mosaic Creation which will be a Landmark in the Town of Sedgefield. All sponsors names will be engraved into this landmark and while teams are racing the Masithandane group of tilers will finish the Landmark. After the event teams can go back and take their Team photo's of this Landmark of which they were part of. Contact me if you want to assist me with this Dream!! #loveyouexpeditionafrica
We had the most amazing morning spending time with some of the local children as they were showing my Werner and Isabella all about Mosaic. You can also see the spot where we are going to make this Landmark!! See photo's below.
PRESS RELEASE: Expedition Africa Mosaics for Change Community Project
The Garden Route, known locally as the "Home of Adventure" will host Expedition Africa 2016. Teams from all over the world will arrive in less than six weeks to take on this team challenge of mountain biking, trekking, orienteering, kloofing, kayaking and abseiling in the picturesque Garden Route.
Organisers; Heidi and Stephan Muller have always ensured the local community benefits from their Expedition Africa events, and this year the Bursary Fund for Children of the local Non-Profit Organisation Masithandane has been chosen. Masithandane is a registered Non-Profit Organisation No. 052-253 & Public Benefit Organisation No. 930025275 and has been working in the area for 10 years. The Bursary Fund is used to assist families in need with transport costs to school, school fees and uniforms.
According to Jacky Weaver of the Masithandane Fund, "there are no High Schools in the area, and no public transport systems in place for children living in Sedgefield and its outlying rural area." The majority of the Greater Sedgefield Area's population is located in formal and informal settlements away from infrastructure, services and employment opportunities.
"The Bursary fund is a preventative measure needed to prevent high school drop-outs, teenage pregnancy, crime, drug abuse and the dangers associated with hitch-hiking" shares Weaver.
"Expedition Africa is more than just an adventure race; it's about changing lives!! This type of event will change the lives of not only the competitor; but also affect every person who is part of this event and ultimately give back to the Community. It's about making amazing memories and leaving a legacy behind" expresses Heidi Muller of Kinetic Events. Kinetic Events have aligned this year’s Expedition Africa with the Masithandane organisation to create a Mosaic Landmark showcasing this year's exciting event.
“Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market is proud to host the Expedition Africa 2016 participants. We are honoured to be chosen to provide the backdrop for the mosaic masterpiece that will be crafted as a memory for the community project” shares Cliff Elion, owner of the Mosaic Village and Outdoor Market.
According to Greg Vogt of Knysna & Partners, "one of the goals of hosting the event in the Garden Route was to establish and cement the claim that this region is the Home of Adventure within the Western Cape. "
The 53 participating teams will unite the day before their Expedition Africa adventure begins; creating a master piece that will feature the legacy of each individual taking part in this year's Expedition Africa and their representing countries. Teams will be given the necessary tools and equipment to develop a mosaic creation on a tile that will feature for years to come at the famous Sedgefield market, celebrating Expedition Africa 2016.
"We are delighted that the local community will benefit from this international event taking place within the true home of adventure, and look forward to witnessing the organisations success in reaching their fundraising objectives" shares Greg Vogt of Knysna & Partners.
The contribution towards the project required is a minimum of R1500.00 per tile. Local children and artists will be part of the interactive team experience on the 14th May 2016 creating 53 unique tiles that will form this master piece. Moreover this project will contribute to the Masithandane Bursary Fund for children and help generate income for ten local mosaic'ists and their families, and further support economic opportunities for local business.
Teams participating in this year's Expedition Africa are encouraged to spread the word to families, supporters and sponsors to support this worthy cause. Contributors will have their names engraved into the mosaic master piece, meaning their names will also live forever in Sedgefield, Western Cape, South Africa for years and years to come; celebrating 2016's Expedition Africa's Adventure Race.
The Garden Route is rich with resources when it comes to the natural beauty of the Knysna Heads, the tranquil forests and still lakes and rivers leading to the rolling ocean. This is the perfect opportunity to appreciate and uplift the local communities of this beautiful land by investing in their education, culture, fellowship and upliftment.
Help change lives with this year's Expedition Africa, make your contribution, make your change!
Expedition Africa Mosaic for Change Community Project 2016:
Expedition Africa teams will cycle from their Host Venue; Pine Lake Marina to the Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market, Sedgefield. Family and friends are welcome to witness and experience this project at the Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market.
Date: Saturday, 14 May 2016
Venue: Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market, Sedgefield
Beneficiary: Masithandane Bursary Fund for Children
Contact: Heidi Muller (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to get more involved with this event, eg: sponsoring toward Branded T Shirts, food packs etc.
Contact: Jacky Weaver (email@example.com) for banking details. As a contributor/sponsor, your name will be engraved into the Expedition Africa Mosaic Landmark. Certificate to RSA Businesses will be given for Tax benefit.
Expedition Africa 500km Adventure Race 2016
Date: Sunday, 15 May 2016
Start Time: 08h00
Venue: To be announced at the Opening Ceremony on Friday, 13 May 2016
Live Tracking: www.expafrica.live
Host Venue: Pine Lake Marina www.pinelakemarina.co.za
Note: All local families and supporters are welcome to attend the start of the event.
The final countdown for Africa's biggest adventure race; Expedition Africa, has begun. Athletes from all over the world are arriving in the Garden Route to accept the challenge of the gruelling and exciting 500km adventure race. The race starts this Sunday: 15th May 2016.
Over 50 teams will arrive at Pine Lake Marina, host venue to this year's multi-disciplined international event that will play out in the Garden Route, recently labelled; 'the Home of Adventure’.
"We are excited to welcome teams taking part in Expedition Africa 2016", shares Greg Vogt; CEO of Knysna & Partners who approached Kinetic Events to hold the event in the Garden Route.
Members of the Australian team Dash x RSS Expedition Africa, and team That's Cray explored the beautiful wanders the Garden Route has to offer by exploring the mystical West Head of the Knysna lagoon Mouth; Featherbed Nature Reserve, a rich and stunning piece of land offering the most magnificent views and experiences just before pre-race excitement hits.
The organisers, Stephan & Heidi Muller have once again kept the start and all other locations a secret. Media, supporters and athletes will only receive communication regarding the route, disciplines and transitions incorporated in this year's race at the opening ceremony taking place at Pine Lake Marina on Friday evening, 13 May 2016.
Expedition Africa has always kept the local communities at heart and the 2016 edition is no different. Leading up to the race, teams will be partnering with the local Knysna & Partners Tourism office, Sedgefield and Masithandane Bursary Fund for Children to leave a legacy of a creative mosaic masterpiece, a Sedgefield trademark.
Members of the public, supporters and media are welcome to attend the community project which will take place at the Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market on the Saturday at 12h00. “The Mosaic Village & Outdoor Market is proud to host the Expedition Africa 2016 participants. We are honoured to be chosen to provide the backdrop for the mosaic masterpiece that will be crafted as a memory for the community project” shares Cliff Elion.
Once this daunting yet exciting adventure race kicks off this Sunday, families and supporters can cheer on their teams via the live tracking feed which will feature a leader board, transitions and checkpoints along the route. Witness your favourite teams progress on www.expafrica.live as they endure a race of a lifetime.
As Teams gear up for their final preparation, messages from all over the world are pouring in with encouragement from their supporters. This race will not only be a physical struggle, but a mental one, so have your positive messages heard and cheer on your team by utilizing the official #expafrica2016 hash tags and message board posts featured on www.expafrica.live
Over 200 Expedition Africa athletes cycled along South Africa's National Road; The N2 towards the Sedgefield Mosaic & Outdoor Market, waving their countries flags with pride. Each team taking part in this year's gruelling 544km Adventure Race was paired with children from the Masithandane Bursary Fun for Children to create a unique element of a Mosaic Masterpiece that will live in the market for years and years to come.
The Knynsa Lourie, Seahorse and local fynbos including the respective teams country flags were mosaic'd in the market earlier this afternoon. Each team's name and sponsor of the mosaic'd piece will be featured in the 'masterpiece' at the Sedgefield Mosaic & Outdoor Market in appreciation for their support. Funds raised from this community project will go towards the Masithandane Bursary Fund for Children.
This registered local NPO has been working in the Sedgefield area for 10 years, where the fund is utilized to assist families in need with transport costs to school, school fees and uniforms.
According to Jacky Weaver of the Masithandane Fund, "there are no High Schools in the area, and no public transport systems in place for children living in Sedgefield and its outlying rural area."
The majority of the Greater Sedgefield Area's population is located in formal and informal settlements away from infrastructure, services and employment opportunities. "The Bursary fund is a preventive measure needed to prevent high school drop-outs, teenage pregnancy, crime, drug abuse and the dangers associated with hitch-hiking" shares Weaver.
"Today was such a lovely day, teams were able to create something beautiful for a worthy cause, and we are so appreciative of Chris Elion for hosting our massive group this afternoon" shares co-race organiser; Heidi Muller.
The market was buzzing this afternoon as teams enjoyed the 'giving back' element of this race. "It was fun to step out of race mode and appreciate where you are, the people and the community, especially when this where we will be racing for the next 6 days" shares Australian athlete, Samantha Gash from DASH x RSS Expedition Africa after this afternoons community project experience.
According to Greg Vogt of Knysna & Partners, the organisation is encouraged that the event includes the Garden Route as a whole. "This experience was awesome! It was lekker to leave something behind in a place where we will be for the next couple of days" excitedly expresses Jesse Ternent of the duo Team Atlas.
Although the project was a great success, organisers Heidi and Stephan Muller would like to invite supports (local and abroad), members of the public and family members to support the initiative by donating to the Masithandane Bursary Fund before Friday, 20 May 2016. All those who financially contribute towards the cause before this date will have their names incorporated into the Mosaic'd Masterpiece in appreciation.
Masithandane Bursary Fund for Children - Banking Details:
Absa’s SWIFT code: ABSAZAJJ
Branch/clearing code: 632005
Branch Name: Knysna
Account Name: Masithandane
Account Number: 4067253575
Bank address: ABSA, Corner of Grey and Main Street Knysna RSA 6571
Beneficiary address: Masithandane Wellness Centre, Milkwood Road, Sedgefield RSA 6573
Reference: ExpAfrica/contributor name
(The Contributor/sponsors name will be engraved into the Expedition Africa Mosaic Landmark)
Please email proof of payment to firstname.lastname@example.org. RSA Companies will receive a BBBEE Tax benefit certificate for their contributions.)
Expedition Africa will officially start at the Cruise Cafe in Knysna at 08h00 tomorrow morning, where teams will take on their first wet leg towards the Knysna Heads. Track your teams progress throughout the 544km adventure race via www.expafrica.live
The Merrell Adventure Addicts crossed the finish line early this morning, followed by team Sweco Adventure claiming third place on day 5 of Expedition Africa .
According to Merrell Adventure Addict Donovan Sims, the amount of support received from locals along the way has been incredible. Members of the public all along the Garden Route have truly embraced Expedition Africa by sponsoring water and food at transition areas, cheering on teams along the river's edge, cycle legs and trekking legs. The live tracking element of this event has proved to be an entertainment tool for many supporters and locals in the area, as they dot watch carefully, hoping to intersect a team along the route and cheer them on.
South African team, KeyHealth Jabberwock crossed the finish in 100h 50min taking 8th place as they complete their 6th Expedition Africa. "This year's race has definitely been the best thus far. The kloofing section was an interesting time for our team due to the cold, but it was awesome, I loved it!" shares Cobus van Zyl.
The AfriCanyon kloofing section is a clear highlight for all teams that have crossed the finish during the course of Day 5. "I would really like to take my family back there to experience that canyon" shares teammate, Craig Metherell of KeyHealth Jabberwock.
As day 7 of the 500km adventure race draws near, the efforts to ensure all teams complete the course has become a priority. Multiple teams failing to reach transition 9 before the cut-off time earlier today are on 'Route 2'. This route will venture teams on a Kayak to Transition 10, a cycle to Transition 15 and their final paddle to the finish.
Teams Black Diamond and DASH x RSS chose Route 2 due to an injury within the team. "Leon suffered from severe tendinitis and was unable to walk for most of the night. They will do a 13km paddle, the 100km cycle and the 9km paddle to the end, finishing as a team" shares team spokesperson for Black Diamond.
Finishers and supporters share in the excitement and atmosphere along the lake side as they wait in anticipation for the next team paddling their final leg. Teams Merrell Mentored, Pennypinchers Adventure Racing and Checkpoint Zero are to be expected at the finish before sunrise tomorrow. Athletes currently cycling 118km along the Karoo dig deep as they make their way to the next transition, and onto the finish for Expedition Africa 2016.
It has now been over 3 months since we finished our beloved event, Expedition Africa, which took place along the Garden Route. We spent 1 week per month, prior to our event, in and around this area in preparation.
I have been sitting with this “post-race” write up for a while and just cannot find the words to express what is happening in my heart… it is a mix of emotions.
It was truly a wonderful journey to put something of this scale together and to spend a few months in this wonderful part of South Africa. The moment that will never be forgotten was when all our teams spread out in front of us on the Knysna Lagoon, as we were standing on the pier in front of the Cruise Café. There was lots of excitement with photographers pushing each other to get the best shot and some of them were even on the boats to follow the teams. The horn blew and off they went. The wheel was rolling and you could not stop it.
While it is a non-stop race for our teams, it is a non-stop race for us, until the last team crosses that finish line. It is a year’s work culminating in the final stretch and afterwards the only memories you have left are the images and the videos. Sadly, this year I walked away empty. You know when a tap runs dry……. my tap ran out this year.
I function on love and I give love unconditionally. That is my thing. It is like adventure racing, its non-stop, and my river of love can never dry up (that is what I thought). Nevertheless, this year I walked home after prize-giving, looking at my husband and my heart was broken. We packed in silence, said our goodbye’s, farewells and thank-you’s, collected CP points. We were still sleep deprived, but tackled the 15-hour trip back to JHB, most of which was done again in silence and I can just remember the tears rolling down my cheeks. I could not stop thinking, why am I doing this? Why am I giving my soul to this? Why am I putting myself out there?
I had no words, nothing. I was just in turmoil with my thoughts and myself.
Now as I sit and open the photo galleries and the videos; my heart swells up with emotion… emotions of happiness, of sadness, of pride and utmost respect of the team of people who went out of their way and worked through-out the night with us to create and capture this “masterpiece”. The most amazing people who just gave it their all!
I mean where in the world do you find people working throughout the night? In the cold, fighting the sleep monsters, trying to keep it all together. Letting us know when the truck leaves, when it arrives, what boxes are short, which teams are close, how far the truck is along. They get worried… the gear does not arrive, the cups run out; we need more milk, then toilet paper. What next??
How can we help? the logistics car has broken down, how can we make plans? We need wood here, we need a marshal there, and we need a gate unlocked but cannot find the farmer, and then most important of all, WE ALL NEED SLEEP… How, just how, can I ever explain this world of intensity, responsibility, problem and crisis management to any person? You cannot prepare for it. You cannot just go and sleep and leave it to someone else to sort out. Once that wheel is rolling you cannot stop it!!
It is the one week in your life where you cannot think of anything else. Its 200% focused energy. Once you have all the balls in the air, you have to remember when was the last post made about this sponsor and a tweet about that sponsor? Did this happen and then that? When last did Stephan sleep? Or eat? Or does anyone know where he is? And where is Ian? And Jose? And there it goes again...
Finally, I move to the finish and our teams start pouring in… I wait for them, all of them. In the beginning, there is lots of excitement as the first teams arrive, with lots of supporters. Then the night becomes lonely and I stand mostly alone with one brave volunteer who is standing half asleep with me. Standing under the stars with a blanket wrapped around my body looking into the silence of the night. How beautiful is this?
I can hear the strokes of the blades as a team is nearing the finish line and then I can see them … Hopefully I am standing with the right country’s flag in hand, music pumping in the background and it is tears of achievement, of greatness, of proudness and just LOVE. Love for people and love for the incredible sport that pushes every person further than the body can do… it pushes your mind and shapes you as a person. It makes you think about yourself, your life, and the things that are really important in life.
I look at every person and I see their pain and smiles, I see, for that few minutes, emotions which not a lot of people have ever seen. I see and understand what they feel and I can see the “change” … it is a pure raw emotion and my privilege to share those first moments.
It is a humbling experience to know that we created an event/experience and that I know will be part of someone’s life forever. We create memories. What is life without memories?
I knew we had to get away after this magnificent event…
Time heals most things. Only time and as our event was on the one hand a massive success and we had massive reach and ratings, it was sadly overshadowed by things we had to address that were out of our control. We had to enforce penalties, upset friends and handle conflict which I Hate!! You can only learn from it. In the end, you still walk away with an empty soul. I was instead of celebrating sad. So sad, emotionally drained and tired.
Our event touched lives. We got so many emails afterwards from volunteers, participants and marshals who told us how expedition had changed their lives and enriched their soul.
I came to the conclusion after some “time out”…. I have put a year of love into this event and my heart walked out empty. Nevertheless, I have a lifetime of memories, memories that nobody can take away from me. Memories filled with time with my children on the beach, kayaking with Stephan on the rivers and hiking along the most beautiful coastline ever. Memories of challenges to get approvals and then amazing memories of discussing our Community Project where we made the Mosaic Landmark and donated the money to the Masithandane Bursary Fund. I gave an afternoon to the young girls at the Kranskop community showing them the finer things in life and helped to build their confidence. We raised money for children who do not have food or transport to go to school. Nobody can take any of those memories away from me. I gave it my all.
A mom who is a friend of mine on Facebook (our children used to be in the same school), came to me and said: “Wow I saw your event and had a look into it and now I see why you are always so busy….”
“It must be so amazing to be the creator of something so special and amazing!” she said.
I closed my eyes ... it hit me… Thank you! Thank you God! Thank you for putting me in a position where I can create something where people can go and “explore”, find themselves, push themselves and feel FREE!! Her words are humbling; sometimes a few words like this from a stranger can change your whole perspective of how you look at things.
I started reading the race reports, and it was a healing process for me. We went away, I switched my phone off, laptop off, I started dancing again, laughing, and running in the rain… I found my “Mojo” again… I looked at my husband with a heart full of admiration and love! I am so proud of him and the man he is and that we can share this love together.
I look back and only see the beautiful things… we made special friends and had the most amazing crew around us who worked their asses off to get the best images, video moments, transport boxes/boats etc. They worked through the day and night not for money but – for us Heidi and Stephan Muller. No money will ever be enough to pay them. They do it from the heart and that is what Expedition Africa is all about. It is more than only a race… its Love!
To every person who was part of the event it does not matter how big or small, you gave in time and in love, we do see it and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!! Thank you for giving your time and for working so hard at an event where most of you hardly know me and Stephan. Thank you for sharing our love and for the sacrifices you have made for Expedition Africa!! May this event be in your life and heart for all the years to come and hope to see you again at the Start of Expedition Africa 2017? I extend this Thank you to every sponsor, venue and institution who were involved and supported us. Thank you for believing in us and making our event just better and better!! Lastly the thank you to our family who is our greatest supporters in love and time where our whole family was there this year to come and help us. Isn't that just so amazing to have this support system!! I am truly the luckiest girl!!
Yes, soon we will announce the Host venue for 2017. If we inspired you this year, book your dates for 12 May – 21 May 2017 and we will meet again! I am excited as my heart is filled with love and energy. To go out and to put together another World Class event that will give you memories for Life!
I am in the business where I give love unconditionally, I will always believe in love and I will always organise our business with love #itsallaboutlove “loving life with abundance”
Otherwise, we waste each other’s time…
As nothing else matters to me…
(I tried to get a photo of most of the people who were involved this year but could not get from all, but just know that I love all of you. See more pictures in the "confessions from the heart" photo album)
until we meet again..
After 5 days and 22 hours organisers, volunteers, athletes, supporters and sponsors have officially begun wrapping up the 2016 edition of Expedition Africa. This gruelling 500km adventure race ventured teams and individuals on a mixture of self discovery and hard competitive racing.
The Garden Route played host to the 6th annual event on the Adventure Racing World Series circuit, seeing 53 teams gather at Pine Lake Marina for this exquisite race. Starting on the picturesque Knysna Lagoon, through the surrounding indigenous forests, untouched coastline, dry desert like region of the Klein Karoo and then finally finishing at Pine Lake Marina . Not many races like this come close in terms of bio diversity, experienced by the athletes at this year's Expedition Africa.
Race Village is packed once again, but this time with tired, limping athletes sharing highlights of their race experience. Athletes gathered for the unveiling of this year's community project at the Sedgefield Mosaic and Outdoor market this afternoon. This exciting project raised over R20 000 for the Masithandane Bursary Fund for Children and will now live in the market for years and years to come sharing in the legacy of Expedition Africa 2016 and their host; the home of adventure.
As teams travel back to their countries and homes, they will be taking back stories of brokenness, elation and total awe of the route that they accomplished. Sharing the tales of untouched, dark water canyons where the sleepmonsters gnawed at their tired minds. Athletes will tell you where sleep over came them, that they awoke with sea lapping at their faces or on the side of a gravel road. They may tell you these stories, but their faces will tell you what those words can't describe.
"Dot Watchers" will now have the opportunity to catch up on sleep, and the Garden Route communities can now get back to work after the excitement passes through their beautiful countryside. It goes without saying that the support and camaraderie each team experienced throughout the race was a highlight.
Tonight, teams will celebrate under a full moon, Lake side as fires burn bright continuing the event festivities for one last night. The closing ceremony will honour their accomplishments no matter what placing. Team Featherbed Painted Wolf are this year's champions, but each and every athlete that took part in the 500km adventure race are heroes.
Race Directors, Heidi & Stephan Muller, put on a true masterpiece, connecting the very best of the Garden Route for the teams to visit and explore as they took on Expedition Africa. The experience and focus of this dynamic duo has created one of the most elite and sought after races on the ARWS circuit. So without further ado; that is a wrap for Expedition Africa 2016 and in the words of Heidi Muller, "It's all about love."
Image: Bruce Viaene