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Thousands walk the talk in the heart of Joburg Print E-mail
24 July 2017
More than 50 000 people in all shapes and sizes, young and old, black and white, veterans and novices including fitness fanatics descended on Marks Park in Emmarentia on Sunday for the 17th edition of the MTN 702 Walk the Talk, the biggest mass participation sporting event in the country.

The venue started buzzing from as early as the crack of dawn when people arrived not only to take part in the 15km, 8km or 5km walk categories, but also to highlight and promote issues and causes they felt strongly about. They wore T-shirts, carried placards or flew flags calling for, among other things, the freedom of the Palestinian people, saving of the rhino, end of violence against women and children, support for brain surgery survivors, education of children, elimination of substance abuse and support for children with autism, among other causes.

Celebrities and high-profile personalities who graced the occasion included Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba, City of Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development Cllr Nonhlanhla Sifumba, Skeem Saam actor Clement Maosa, rapper Fifi Copper, 702 radio talkshow host Xolani Gwala, actress and TV presenter Buhle Samuels and former Miss South Africa and businesswoman Basetsana Kumalo.

As has been the case over the years, the event was supported by the City of Johannesburg. Mayor Mashaba, who walked with his family in the 8km category, said he took part in the event in his capacity as the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg.

“I was not walking for a particular cause but I was here to show my support for the event and residents who were walking for causes close to their hearts,” said Mayor Mashaba.

He said the walk, his first since being elected Mayor of Johannesburg, was rewarding and energising. However, this was not the first time he took part in the event. “I’ve participated four times before. My wife, Connie, is a huge fan of the event and she takes part every year,” said Mayor Mashaba.

He said the event was a platform to promote healthy living and foster social cohesion. “Exercise is part and parcel of my life. I’m fortunate to have a gym at my house because I cannot function without exercise,” said Mayor Mashaba.

He added: “This walk talks to a safe and clean environment. It shows us that it is possible to have a city where people can walk on the street without fear of being victims of crime.”

MMC Sifumba walked on behalf of the Let’s Talk Jozi campaign, which highlights the fight against women and child abuse. She said the walk was exhilarating. “It was a great opportunity for us as public servants to engage with the people we serve,” said Cllr Sifumba.

She said the walk was a great platform to encourage residents to adopt a park so as to have clean and safe open spaces.

With popular music group Mafikizolo belting out their hit songs live on stage, there was a carnival-like atmosphere at Marks Park as people danced to the beat while catching up with friends or networking with business associates over a beer or hot dog at many of the food and beverages stalls set up throughout the venue. Many hung around until very late into the average.

This proved once again Johannesburg’s ability and expertise to host major events.

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Last Updated on 24 July 2017