Vincent Luyanda Ntunja was born on 24 June 1981 in Gugulethu, a township just 20 minutes outside Cape Town’s city centre. He’s a professional model, TV presenter, motivational speaker, sports presenter and philanthropist. He also participates competitively in basketball, which he started playing 12 years ago in the dusty streets of Gugulethu. He has represented South Africa from junior to senior level, which has given him the opportunity to travel the world and meet basketball icon Michael Jordan; he was even awarded the Most Valuable Player out of 500 kids at Jordan’s basketball camp in Los Angeles.
It was through the “Name your hood” (www.nameyourhood.co.za) project, an initiative by the City of Cape Town to rename the streets and suburbs of Cape Town, that Vince was introduced to Run Cape Town-Sightseeing on the Run, and he became involved in taking people on guided running tours of Gugulethu. Giving back to his community is an essential part of Vince’s life; and it is through these Gugs runs that he hopes to inspire the people of Gugulethu to, as he puts it, “put down that beer and rather put on pair of tackies (trainers); to be more active and healthy”. He’s involved in Hoops for Hope, an international NGO that uses basketball to reach out to underprivileged kids, and is proud of the basketball court in the Gugulethu Sports Complex which is named after him. He is also an active member of the Outspoken Youth Initiative (OYI), a collection of prominent young community personalities who are musicians, entertainers and sports personalities, with a lot of positive influential power. Their vision is to inspire positive change in the townships. For more information check out http://sakhisizwe.blogspot.com/2013/10/outspoken-youth-initiative-inspires.html, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.facebook.com/pages/OYI/578067765549899.
So, really, we couldn’t ask for a better running guide than Vince to show us his Gugs, with pride, enthusiasm and love! We did our first Gugs run in August 2013, and since then we have had four “Run Gugs” running tours, ranging from groups of 16 runners, to smaller father-and-daughter teams visiting Cape Town from London/Sweden. Our plan for 2014 is to host one Gugs Run a month on a Saturday, towards the end of each month.
So, if you’re looking for a fun new environment to explore in your running shoes, and would like to learn more about Gugulethu and become part of this positive change, subscribe to the Run Cape Town mailing list (www.runcapetown.co.za/contact/) & find out when the next Gugs Run is (in March!). You can also watch our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RunCapeTown and/or twitter account @RunCapeTown to keep yoursleves updated with when the next Run Gugs is happening – don’t miss out!
One last thought from Vince: “Despite my own achievements, my mission is to continue to make a difference in peoples’ lives in the best possible way. Coming from Gugs became my force to succeed. If you survive the township life, you’re bound to succeed anywhere on planet earth.”